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Full text of "Space Gamer Magazine Issue 21"

NUMBER 21 



THE 



$1.50 



SPiCEOXER 



FOR CREATIVE ADVENTURES 



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in this issue: 



Dave Arneson interview 
Spaceship Miniatures 
How to run a Micro Tournament 
Odds in OGRE &G.E.V. 





dSMECJtm 

FOR CREATIVE ADVENTURES 

JANUARY-FEBRUARY, No. 21,1979 



IN THIS ISSUE 
5 AN INTER VIE W WITH DA VE ARNESON * Staff 

One of the designers of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS speaks out 

8 YOU. TOO, CAN RUN A 

MIC&OTOURNAMENT * Guy W. McLimore, Jr. 

First Hand Report from a Tournament Director 

1 PLA YING THE ODDS A T OGRE & G.E. V. * Roland Parenteau 

Looking at the OGRE Universe with the 'Pure Science' 

1 2 SPA CESHIP MINI A TURES & R ULES * Tony Watson 

An overall look at this growing area of gaming 

1 5 GETTING MORE FROM BLA CK HOLE * Glenn L. Williams 

Additions to MicroGame No. 10 

1 6 THE DER YNI * Ronald Pehr 

'The Fantasy Trip' meets Katherine Kurtz 

1 9 LORDS OF THE MIDDLE SEA * W. G. Armintrout 

A review 

21 MIND WAR * Micheal Striiey 

A review 

22 THE REALM OF YOLMI * Dana Holm 

A review 

23 STOMP! * Phil Kosnett 

A review 

24 JUGGERNA UT ONE * Robert Chester 

A short story 

25 ENTERTAINMENT * Warren E. McGill 

A poem 



DEPARTMENTS 

WHERE WE'RE GOING ,3 

NEWS & PLUGS 17 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 26 



Art in this issue: 

Brian Wilson cover 

Larry Beasley 7 

Paul Jaquays 9,16,26,29,30 

Robert Manns 2,10,17,18 

Winchell Chung 11 

Peter Daglio 13,14 

Kevin Shaughnessy 20,27 

Mitch O'Connell 23 

Doug Potter 25 

David Deitrick 28 




C. Ben Ostrander 
editor 

Howard Thompson 
publisher 

Karol Sandberg 
Donna Baker 
copy editors 

Steve Jackson 
contributing editor 

Robert Taylor 
news editor 

Tracy Valentine 
Kim Falke 
subscriptions 



THE SPACE GAMER is published bi-monthly 
by Metagaming, 3100-A Industrial Terrace, Austin, 
TX 78759. SUBSCRIPTION information, changes 
of address, orders, etc., to Metagaming, P.O. Box 
15346, Austin, TX 78761. All material copyright 
© 1979 by THE SPACE GAMER. All rights 
reserved for material accepted for publication 
unless initially specified and agreed otherwise. 
News items and product announcements subject 
to editorial whim. SUBSCRIPTIONS: six issues, 
$8; twelve issues, S15. Base rate for unsolicited 
manuscripts is one cent per word; they must be 
typed, double spaced, and contain return postage. 
Base rate for art is S20 per average page size; 
interior art should be black ink on heavy white 
paper. Application to mail at second-class rates 
is pending at Austin, Texas. 



Gaming has come a long way in the 
last few years. Most of the companies 
that have developed since 1972-1974 
wouldn't be able to get a start in today's 
market. Quality of game design and 
packaging is much improved. In 1974, 
the market wasn't crowded and just 
beginning. Now, there are eight to ten 
established board wargame publishers 
turning out fair to excellent products. 
Metagaming wouldn't make it starting 
out in 1979. 

As Metagaming has grown, we have 
less time to notice what our competitors 
do. Frankly, I don't know too much 
about their new releases. Our time is 
spent doing our own thing. We believe 
that as long as we complete innovative, 
quality game projects, we'll make it. 
We'd rather lead the field to new areas 
than follow by imitation. If we can 
imitate and do a better job, we will. 

In a way we're competing with our 
own standards and expectations more 
than other firms. I'm glad when another 
company introduces a new concept or 
puts out a popular, quality game. That 
enhances the reputation and enjoyment 
of all gaming. I may wish we'd done 
it; but, we don't even have the time to 
do all our own interesting projects. 
If someone else can do it, more power 
to him. 

The more contact I have with the 
hobby industry and other gaming compa- 
nies, the more I realize Metagaming does 
things differently. Most of the industry, 
with some excellent exceptions, operate 
on little cash, paying bills late and cutting 
quality out of necessity. Metagaming 
pays cash as billed. Within a reasonable 
budget, our products get high quality 
marks. Our printer, box manufacturer 
and other suppliers get prompt payments. 
Deliveries go out rapidly. 

The up-front approach and service 
orientation are taken for granted by us. 
The amazing thing is how many others 
don't take it for granted. It works for 
us in reducing hassles and getting good 
service. Having quality suppliers is one 
key of our success to date. Delivering 
quality products promptly is another. 
It seems obvious, but apparently, it 
isn't common. 
TOURNAMENT PLAY 

Metagaming sponsored two cash prize 
tournaments at WARCON V this year. 
Despite lower Con attendance than in 
previous years, the Metagaming tourna- 
ments were resounding successes. The 
combination of modest cash prizes 
and chess clocks in advanced rounds 
was experimental. It was successful in 
terms of interest and heightened com- 
petitive play. 



Whfire WftVft Caning 1 



Play style in the OGRE/G.E.V. tourna- 
ment changed drastically with the time 
pressure of using chess clocks. Meta- 
gaming will continue to utilize chess 
clocks in tournament experiments. The 
goal is a set of rules and regulations for 
conducting tournaments. Event timing, 
judging, crowd control, record keeping, 
and area arrangement are matters of 
concern. 

The value of continuing play of a 
game showed clearly in the STELLAR 
CONQUEST tournament. There are at 
least fifteen to twenty tournament- 
experienced SC players in Texas. The 
"new blood" went down very rapidly 
against the veterans. 

Metagaming is tentatively planning a 
tournament in Austin for the summer. 
The format will depend on available man 
power for judging tournaments and 
handling administrative tasks. Cash 
prizes would be awarded in many events. 
Tournament winners would be asked to 
write strategy articles for THE SPACE 
GAMER. Open gaming space would be 
provided for non-tournament play. 

The tournament is not planned as a 
typical convention. The only events 
aside from tournament gaming might 
be a few discussion panels with Meta- 
gaming staff. All the effort would go 
into running a good, tight series of 
tournaments first. Everything else 

would be secondary. 

If you live in Texas and are willing 
to donate some hours as a judge, assis- 
tant, or gopher at a tournament, write: 
The Games Foundation; Box 40; Cedar 
Park, TX 78613. If interest in suffi- 
cient, we may form a Texas Gaming 
League with memberships and a complete 
organization. The Games Foundation 
is a Metagaming subsidiary controlling 
game development. 
BOXED GAMES 

STELLAR CONQUEST and GODS- 
FIRE will be shipping by March 10, 
1979. The huge bills for them arrive 
in April. Planned at the same time as 
these two were the boxes for THE 
FANTASY TRIP: IN THE LABY- 
RINTH. 

The last rules draft from Steve Jackson 
on TFT: ITL was received three weeks 
ago, consisting of 300+ pages of xeroxed 
notes. Believe me, Steve will never 
volunteer for a "Big" game project again. 
It has literally been two years out of his 
life plus thousands of hours of supporting 
effort. 

All we can say about the huge delay 



is that the game will be worth the 
delay because of its payability. The 
price for this mountain of material and 
play aids will be either $19.95 (a "strip- 
ped" version) or S29.95. At S29.95 there 
would be a packet of 15mm fantasy 
Microtures included as class playing 
pieces in addition to the 720+ other 
board play counters. If you have any say 
at all about price, get it in now. The 
leaning here currently is toward the 
$29.95 Cadillac fantasy game, unmatched. 
NEW MICROS 

The next two scheduled Micros are 
HOLY WAR, tactical combat loosely 
based on GODSFIRE, and INVASION 
OF THE AIR EATERS. HOLY WAR 
is a Lynn Willis design with some very 
clever background and slick tactical 
wrinkles. HOLY WAR is for you if 

you've been wanting some space tactical 
play. Lynn shows further development 
of his premier talents in this one-don't 
miss it! 

INVASION OF THE AIR EATERS is 
to my mind the best Micro we've pub- 
lished. I always wanted to publish a 
Micro with the entire world printed 
on a Micro map. The plot is '50's camp. 
Bug-eyed monsters invade earth and set 
up bases to convert our air into theirs— 
die gasping, Terran scum! What is neat 
is that all the factors of nations, armies, 
technology, and invaders fit and work! 
It can even be multi-player or played 
solitaire with the invaders reacting in set 
patterns. I don't think we've ever given 
as much potential in a $2.95 MicroGame. 

METAGAMING ASKS A FAVOR 

About a year ago we aked our readers 
to ask their local toy, book, and hobby 
stores to carry Metagaming products. 
If a store is selling Avalon Hill or SPI 
products, then it can't miss with the 
MicroGames. If a bookshop has a good 
science fiction section, they can also 
sell MicroGames. Many of you sent us 
the names and addresses of local stores 
who eventually picked up our line. 

So, we're again asking you to let your 
local toy, book, and hobby shops know 
that you like MicroGames. It sounds 
simple, but it works. The retailer survives 
by keeping you happy. If Metagaming 
products make you happy, he'll be inte- 
rested. You're doing him a favor too--- 
Micros and THE SPACE GAMER do 
bring him new game customers. 

Howard Thompson 



THE FANTASY TRIP Microtures are made for 
use with Metagaming's THE FANTASY TRIP game 
system. Each package of Microtures is an assortment 
of quality metal fantasy figures. These figures are 
used to represent the heroes, heroines, fighters, 
wizards, sentients, monsters and animals from 
THE FANTASY TRIP. 

THE FANTASY TRIP Microtures are supplied 
with optional hex bases. The hex bases are com- 
patible with the facing and movement requirements 
of THE FANTASY TRIP combat system. When 
glued to the hex bases the figures are ready for 
fantasy adventure. 

Metagaming already has several games published 
in THE FANTASY TRIP series. 

THE FANTASY TRIP: MELEE S2.95 - man to 
man combat 

THE FANTASY TRIP: WIZARD S3.95 - magical 
combat 

THE FANTASY TRIP: DEATH TEST S2.95 - an 
adventure 

To be published in the near future are the 
Game Master's rule module for adventure campaigns. 

THE FANTASY TRIP: IN THE LABYRINTH 

While intended for use with THE FANTASY TRIP 
these Microtures are suitable for use with any fantasy 
game that uses figures. They are also useful, without 
bases, on terrain boards as fantasy armies. 



TFT 1 Heroes & Heroines ($2.95) 

TFT 2 Heroes & Magic Users ($2.95) 

TFT 3 The Dwarves ($2.95) 

TFT 4 Elves (S2.95) 

TFT 5 Labyrinth Dwellers No. T ($2.95) 

(giant, ogre, bear, wolves, gargoyles) 

TFT 6 Ores No. 1-6 swordsmen, 6 pole axe ($2.95) 

TFT 7 Hobgoblins No. 1 - 6 swordsmen, 6 spears ($2.95) 

TFT 8 One-hex Dragon (S2.95) 

TFT 9 Ores No. 2 - Bows & Crossbow ($2.95) 

TFT 10 Hobgoblins No. 2 - 6 bows, 6 axes ($2.95) 

TFT 1 1 Labyrinth Dwellers No. 2 ($2.95) 
(spiders, scorpions, slimes, molds) 

TFT 12 Seven-hex Dragon ($7.95) 

OGR 1 OGRE MK V M.95) 



METAGAMING'S &* q~ 
MICROTURES J>A,yj 

Clje Jfantagp Crip 

15 mm Fantasy Gaming Figures I 






^^ 


. •^•■^S. ■ < - -. 




m 



SOLD BY: 

Metagaming 

P.O. BOX 15346 
AUSTIN, TX 78761 



ORDER CONDITIONS 

Due to the mailing weight of these Mircoture packages, 
they must be ordered subject to the following conditions: 
1.) Three Microture packages or more is the minimum 

order. Orders for only one or two Microture 

packages will be returned. 
2.) A postage and handling fee of SI .00 per order must 

accompany each order for Microtures. 
3.) Subscribers to THE SPACE GAMER are exempt 

from the $1.00 postage and handling fee. 



MANUFACTURED UNDER LICENSE BY: 
MARTIAN METALS 
P.O. BOX 947 
COPPERAS COVE, TX 76522 



An Interview 



Dave Ameson 




(Editors Note: Dave Arneson is one of 
the men most responsible for the creation 
of fantasy gaming. He had a major role 
in the creation of the classic DUNGEONS 
& DRAGONS, published by TSR Hob- 
bies, Inc. Dave is an active freelance 
game designer residing in St. Paul. We 
look forward to seeing more of Dave's 
work in the future.) 



THE SPACE GAMER: When did you 
start gaming in general? 

ARNESON: I have gamed since the 
early 60's with Avalon Hill games and 
with miniatures since 1965. I came up 
with the usual "variants" and "new 
games" using existing systems and a few 
"mythical" campaigns, including a very 
gross 1984 game. 

TSG: What sort of education and 
experience did you have that might have 
prepared you for game design? 

ARNESON: My major in college was 
history with minors in ROTC and politi- 
cal science. I worked as a ticket seller 
at the state fair in the summer and, after 
graduation (and a 4-F from the Army) 
as a security guard. Other than the 
general knowledge that gets rubbed off 
on one while in school, that was my 
background. My games education just 
happened. 



TSG: What were your earliest designs? 

ARNESON: My first "published" 
work was DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP, 
written in the early 70's with Don Lowry. 
This was the result of a large Napoleonic 
miniatures campaign (which I refereed) 
for the local group. I feel this refereeing 
of the local Napoleonic campaign was 
what really provided me with the back- 
ground and education that I needed when 
it came to games creation. 



TSG: How did you get started in 
fantasy gaming? The original DUN- 
GEONS & DRAGONS rules refer to the 
Castle and Crusade society. 

ARNESON: My first fantasy game 
was a ridiculous affair where an elephant 
in an ANCIENTS game got fried by a 
Phaser! I have the honor of being the 
referee who authorized that gambit. 
I survived the player riot quite well; of 
course, it was my table, troops, house, 
and I was heavily armed. Some time 
passed before I tried the fantasy bit 
again, however. 

The Castle and Crusade Society was an 
offshoot of the old International Federa- 
tion of Wargaming, now defunct. The 
C&C society was devoted to play with 
miniatures in a medieval setting. I was 
the assistant herald in the society. Its 
newsletter was a forum for articles on 
medieval weaponry, battle reports, games 
and a new "thing" called fantasy. The 
later was quite "traditional," being 



devoted to a few mentions of hobbits, 
combat factors, and the like. 

The Society set up a mythical map 
where "kingdoms" were assigned to the 
"lords" of the Society and a society-wide 
campaign, using medievals was proposed, 
which never got anywhere. My DUN- 
GEONS & DRAGONS co-author and 
Robert Kuntz were both active in running 
and setting up the C&C society. 

TSG: There was also another Minnea- 
polis club named. 

ARNESON: The Minneapolis group 
known as the MMSA, Midwest Military 
Simulations Association, became active 
in the late 60's. It became the first 
recognized "wargame" Club at the 
University of Minnesota and at the 
College of St. Thomas. 



TSG: How did you come to create 
that infamous first campaign, BLACK- 
MOOR? 

ARNESON: In the early part of the 
70's our group was fully engaged in a 
far flung Napoleonic campaign which I 
refereed. One Saturday after reading 
several S&S novels, eating popcorn, and 
watching horror/monster movies all day, 
I designed a maze-like dungeon and pop- 
ulated it with ores and similar beasties. 

The next day my erstwhile emperors 
and czars arrived to view a table-top 
now dominated by my old Kibri castle 



with scattered forests and a town. After 
several groans about trying something 
new (i.e. not Napoleonic), the first band 
of heroes entered the, now well worn, 
main staricase. So the Midwest Military 
Simulation Association began to explore 
BLACKMOOR. 

Once begun they were hooked and for 
some months they plumbed the depths. 
Even years later the original explorers/ 
adventurers will regail all comers with 
stories about their exploits. 



TSG: How did you meet Gary Gygax 
and Rob Kuntz? 

ARNESON: I had met both of them 
years before at Gen Con III when I was 
selling some wooden ship models at the 
auction. I believe that was 1972. 

TSG: How did your involvement with 

TSR Hobbies develop in those early days? 

ARNESON: When TSR got going in 

1974, it was strictly a Lake Geneva 
operation with Don Kaye (d. 1975) 
and my co-author, Gary Gygax. Don was 
the major money man at the time. 

When business began expanding in 

1975, due to D&D, it was planned that 
I, and others, would move to Lake 
Geneva in 1976 to help run things first 
hand. Up until that time, I was busy 
lining up EMPIRE OF THE PETAL 
THRONE and DUNGEON for TSR, plus 
working on fantasy rules and games 
as well as on my own projects. My 
intention was to act as an agent in finding 
new and interesting projects for TSR. 
DUNGEON, FIGHT IN THE SKY, 
STAR EMPIRES, STAR PROBE, EM- 
PIRE OF THE PETAL THRONE, LE- 
GIONS OF THE PETAL THRONE, and 
several others came to TSR from Minne- 
sota people. 

It was, however, GenCon that first 
brought us all together before there was 
any D&D or TSR. 



TSG: Your name is carried as co- 
designer of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. 
How did you and Gary Gygax handle 
the work of a joint game design? 

ARNESON: By phone and correspon- 
dence. There were also a couple week- 
ends in Lake Geneva, but the final draft 
was done by phone and mail. I was not 
consulted on many aspects of the final 
work and in BLACKMOOR and FIRST 
FANTASY CAMPAIGN have tried to 
show where I would have liked DUN- 
GEONS & DRAGONS to have gone. 
It is, however, an almost universal truth 
that game designers are rarely satisfied 
with the way their work comes out. 



TSG: How was the final rules draft 
developed? 

ARNESON: All editing on the final 
draft was done in Lake Geneva and I did 
not see it before it went to press. It was 
very much a case of me providing various 
ideas and concepts but not having any say 
as to how they were used. I am reluctant 
to say more due to the present legal 
situation. 



TSG: What was your participation in 
the establishment of TSR? 

ARNESON: I helped establish the 
company via DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. 
TSR would have folded in '75 with only 
CAVILIERS AND ROUNDHEADS and 
TRICOLOR in its inventory. With the 
games and people I helped line up for 
them, TSR got that boost it needed to 
get going. All the money in the world 
would not have given it the ten fold 
increase in size between '75 and '74. 
It was DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, EPT 
and hard workers like Carr (FITS) and 
Megarry (DUNGEON) that made it soar. 



TSG: What is your current involve- 
ment, if any, with TSR? 

ARNESON: My current involvement 
with TSR as a game designer is zero as it 
has been since 1976. I am a stockholder. 
I am also paid royalties for some of the 
work I have had published by TSR. 



TSG: How active is your current 
fantasy gaming? 

ARNESON: My current campaign, 
the first, has seen players in all parts of 
the country. It has been played twice at 
San Francisco, several times in Texas, 
many times in Wisconsin, and in other 
areas as well. It is still going and still 
contains many of the original players, 
if not their characters! On average, 
nowadays, we meet once a month if I am 
available. Most of the original group of 
dungeoneers that are still active now have 
their own dungeons, but these are not 
directly associated with BLACKMOOR. 

TSG: How do you view the present 
state of fantasy role gaming? 

ARNESON: The present state of fan- 
tasy gaming is chaotic and pretty con- 
fused at best. Of the vast amount 
of fantasy products out today, more than 
a few are trash and not worth the paper 
they're printed on. Yet, within even the 
most horrid product there can be found 
some useful facet that can be incorpo- 
rated into an existing campaign. I am 
appalled at the overall flood of stuff and 



would have preferred a more orderly 
approach; but, the nature of the beast 
prevents that. Fantasy is imagination and 
most, I hesitate to say all, people's 
imaginations are different, just as each 
person is different. And, imaginations do 
tend to be unruly. 

So what is the point? Is all this acti- 
vity good or bad? I believe that it is a 
good and healthy sign that bodes well for 
the future. The junk will get thrown out 
and some equilibrium reached in times 
(at least I hope so!) to come. There is 
more to come, that's for sure folks!! 



TSG: What is your current status with 
Heritage? Among other rumors, we'd 
heard you'd moved to Dal/as. Are you 
an employee, freelance designer, under 
contract? 

ARNESON: I am freelance. I publish 
with whom I please. I live in Minnesota 
where most of my friends and family 
reside at present. My agreement with 
Heritage is only a right of first refusal 
and nothing more. Mostly they have 
refused. I also found a few titles for 
them and edited some rules, all on a fee 
basis. Thus, at this time, my involve- 
ment is minimal and I am not an em- 
ployee. 



TSG: Does your association with 
Heritage indicate some sort of break 
with TSR and Gary Gygax? Our rumor 
sources indicate lawsuits and other 
animosity between the two firms. 

ARNESON: As I said I am not direct- 
ly working for any particular company. 

I am at present involved in a legal 
suit with TSR Hobbies over DUNGEONS 
& DRAGONS royalties. Beyond that I 
am not free to comment on my relations 
with TSR to any great extent. 

TSR and Heritage settled their case 
over the use of the words DUNGEONS 
& DRAGONS in Heritage's advertising. 
Heritage won. Beyond court costs, 
no major money was involved, that 
I know of. There is no love lost between 
the two. I understand that the case may 
be reopening soon. 



TSG: Do you have any involvement 
with Judges Guild or any other gaming 
companies? 

ARNESON: With Chaosium, Fantasy 
Games Unlimited, Discovery Games, and 
Adventures Unlimited (my own tax 
shelter and company!), plus 4D Inter- 
active Systems, a Rochester Minnesota 
computer company. 



TSG: Do you have new game designs 
in the works now? 

ARNESON: SAMURAI (Chaosium or 
Heritage) 

ADVENTURES IN FANTASY (Heri- 
tage or Fantasy Games) 

GUIDE TO FANTASY (Heritage) 

KING SOLOMON'S MINES (Disco- 
very Games), supplement to Source of 
the Nile. 

ISLAND OF THE WOLF (Judges 
Guild), D&D playing aid 

CITY OF THE GODS (Judges Guild), 
D&D playing aid 

There are also several less advanced pro- 
jects. 

TSG: Do you see yourself making a 
living from gaming? 

ARNESON: I am making a living 
from gaming, not much but nice. Of 
course, being a bachelor helps! 

TSG: What do you hope to do in 
gaming over the next five or ten years? 

ARNESON: Computer and video 
games are where the game industry is 
going, with a vengeance!! I hope to 
increase the emphasis on role playing 
adventure games and get away from the 
purely fantasy type games. I especially 
want to get players away from the 
emphasis on booty and high body counts. 

TSG: Do you view yourself as a 
miniatures gamer more than a board ga- 
mer? How do you view the differences 
between the two? 

ARNESON: Miniatures! A miniature 
by its very nature requires more prepara- 
tion and care. That affects the whole 
viewpoint and outlook of the players. 
The miniatures provide players with a 
more easily grasped 3D picture of what 
is going on and lets them identify with 
it more readily. 

TSG: Most gamers have their ups and 
downs. What was your single biggest 
disappointment as a gamer? 

ARNESON: When I saw what was 
happening at TSR and was forced to 
leave. I had very great hopes, as we all 
did at the start, for setting the hobby on 
its ear. It was sad to see the paper 
mache facade put up in place of steel and 
brick. 

As a game participant it was the end- 
ing of a Civil War campaign in which I 
was a reb. Mostly because I was having 
a ball playing in a miniatures' campaign, 
my first in years, and I was winning!! 
On to St. Louis!!! The poor referee just 
ran out of time and steam. He was doing 
a great job though and I loved playing 
for a change. 



TSG: Do you feel that game designers 
should receive game awards? 

ARNESON: Yes! Writers win them 
for their books! Ball players win awards! 
So why are game designers different, 
you tell me. 

ARNESON: What is Metagaming's 
postion? 

TSG: Metagaming feels that gaming 
should give awards to designers. The 
designers may become confused in some 
companies that have group efforts, but 
designer awards are preferable. Com- 
panies receive their reward at the bottom 
of income statements. 

TSG: What would you think of sepa- 
rate designer and company awards? 

ARNESON: Fine, but make it clear 
who is getting an award for what and 
why, for superior marketing or doing 
a good game. 



TSG: You have been involved in a 
dispute over the Charles Roberts awards 
and H.G. Wells awards. What led to the 
dispute? 

ARNESON: At the awards ceremony 
I went up to receive the DUNGEONS & 
DRAGONS awards. This was disputed by 
a represenative of TSR at the ceremony. 
As a result, I only received one of the 



awards won by DUNGEONS & DRA- 
GONS, the rest going to TSR. After 
the ceremony, TSR protested to the 
people running the convention that I 
return the award. The convention 
people then asked me to return the 
award, stating that the awards went to 
the publishers, not the designers of 
the games which win. 

I refused to return the award. I 
stated that (1) no one had ever an- 
nounced that companies, not designers 
are winners, and (2) it seemed grossly 
unreasonable that the publisher of say 
"Lord of the Rings" would receive 
literary awards for the book and not 
the author. I sent off a protest to Simu- 
lations Publications, Inc., Avalon Hill, 
Metro Detroit Gamers, and John Mans- 
field, all of whom were involved in the 
awards ceremony. 

MDG made up an award for TSR, but 
otherwise never replied to me. AH said 
it was right that companies were the ones 
to receive the awards. SPI called and said 
that next year awards would go to both 
the company and the designer. Mansfield 
also indicated that there would be chan- 
ges next year. 

As to my getting any of this year's 
award, SPI and MDG said that there was 
not much chance (i.e. tough luck, but 
aren't you happy it will be different 
in the future!). 




8 



You, Too, Can run A MicroTournament 

or 

Small Games, Small Headaches 



Guy W. McLimoreJr. 

Tournament Director 
Ohio Valley Wargaming Association 



If you are a member of a wargaming 
club, chances are you've talked about 
holding a tournament. And, if your club 
is like most clubs, all you've done is talk, 
because talk is the only easy part of tour- 
nament planning. 

Realistically speaking, tournaments are 
a big, big job. Over half the problem is 
caused by the big, big nature of many 
wargames. Games take time to learn, and 
time to play. The complex nature of 
most wargames multiplies the hassles in 
planning a tournament. Long, complex 
games require more referees and a larger 
tournament site which can be used for 
long periods of time (sometimes two or 
three days). More complicated games 
also limit participation to those players 
familiar with that game. Even gamers 
who are familiar with a game may back 
off from tournament play. They may not 
be comfortable enough with it, or are too 
unsure of their own abilities in gaming to 
risk competition in any "official" way. 

All this leaves most clubs at the talk 
stage of tournaments. Few gaming 
organizations have the personnel and 
money to overcome the problems. 
Even when conventions are held, they are 
really not a place for inexperienced 
gamers to be competing. 

Then, enter the MicroGame, and exit 
a lot of problems for tournament organi- 
zers. MicroGames are fast, and even a 
new player can learn how to play quickly. 
This means fewer judges and less time 
needed for a tourney. Micros are perfect 
for a small club's first tournament, or 
even for a small, quick, fun event for a 
larger club with tournament experience. 

Of course, no tournament, even a 
Microtournament, is a total snap to put 
together. (Sorry, gang, but there ain't no 
such thing as a free lunch. . .). But, a 
Microtournament eliminates many of the 
usual problems so a tournament director 
can concentrate on other, important 



points. As for the problems, perhaps a 
few hints can minimize them. 

The absolute first thing one should do 
when it has been decided to hold a 
Microtournament is select and reserve 
a tournament site. Select and reserve 
(note the emphasis. . .)! In planning 
their recent Microtournament, the Ohio 
Valley Wargaming Association discovered 
at the last minute that their "reserved" 
site wasn't reserved after all, necessitating 
a last-minute change in location. All 
turned out for the best, as the second 
site was far superior to the original, but 
it could have been very embarrassing. 
(Wasn't it nice of us to make mistakes 
so you could avoid them. . .?) 

When picking a tournament site, cost 
will probably be the major factor. Start 
checking with local colleges and univer- 
sities, community centers, organizations 
like veterans' groups or armed forces 
reserve units, etc. Many of theses groups 
have meeting rooms or auditoriums 
that a club can get cheap (or even free) 
with a little explanation and PR about 
wargaming. 

Remember, your site should have 
plenty of tables and chairs available. It 
should be relatively quiet and apart from 
non-gaming activities. (Yes, I know it 
won't be quiet for long, but at least you 
can limit the amount of noise from 
nearby non-gaming activities.) It would 
be nice if snacks and drinks (at least 
a soft drink machine) were available 
nearby. Gamers get hungry and thirsty 
between rounds. Parking and acces- 
sibility of the site to area gamers is ano- 
ther consideration to make. 

What games you play should be 
determined by what is popular in your 
area. MELEE and WIZARD are especial- 
ly good for tournament play, since they 
are simulations of arena combat. OGRE 
and G.E.V. can be played tournament 
style as well. Try combining the two 



games into one tournament, starting 
the first round with the basic scenario 
or OGRE and adding more units and 
optional rules for each successive round 
of eliminations. 

In fact, there are no bad choices 
among the Metagaming MicroGames. 
All are quick-play games lending them- 
selves to elimination play. Try for a 
variety of game styles, mixing fantasy and 
science fiction. 

Of course, there must be something 
for the winners. Your local hobby shop 
or bookstore that sells MicroGames is 
the first place your club should look for 
help in providing prizes. Most likely, the 
owner will be all too happy to provide 
some prizes for the tournament. (If it 
is a large shop, there might be room to 
hold the event right there.) Be sure and 
support your "sponsor" by mentioning 
his generosity on posters and in news 
releases and the tournament program. 

This brings the discussion neatly 
around to publicity. This may be the 
single most important area of planning, 
since it is publicity that will determine 
the final success or lack thereof of your 
Microtournament. It is important to get 
the word out as soon as plans (site, 
games, prizes, etc.) are finalized for the 
event. Start with posters in local war- 
game shops, on college campuses, and 
other places where gamers (and potential 
gamers among the SF/fantasy fans) get 
together. Also, prepare notices (typed, 
double-spaced, and NEAT, please!) for 
wargaming publications that run tourna- 
ment information. Include all important 
information about the event, plus the 
address and phone number of the tourna- 
ment director. If there is an entry fee 
(and there should be at least a token fee- 
50 cents to $1 is plenty), be sure and list 
that, too. Don't forget that magazines 
have a "lead time" of several months. 
You must plan to get your news releases 



9 



in at least 3 to 4 months before the event, 
if you expect them printed in time. 

Metagaming and the TSG staff were 
of tremendous help with the publicity 
for the Ohio Valley Microtournament, 
publishing tournament notices in TSG's 
News and Plugs column and even allowing 
the use of their copyrighted advertising 
art-with proper copyright notices at- 
tached-in publicity posters. 

Publicity should build slowly to a peak 
about one week before the event. If the 
publicity effort peaks too soon, the 
gamers have time to forget about the 
whole thing before the day of the event. 
Send local newspaper and broadcast 



releases out about a week before the 
event. Do go back about this time and 
make sure the posters you put up are 
still where you put them. Replace 
posters that have fallen or been removed. 
Ask your hobby shop/bookstore to stuff 
a small flyer about the event in with 
every game or SF-related purchase during 
this last week. 

For the tournament itself, your most 
important resource is your group of 
judges. Judges should not be playing 
in tournament rounds to protect their 
impartiality. Post the official rules early 
(in the case of MELEE, OGRE and 
possibly other games, note which printing 




of the rules is being officially adopted) 
and be sure to post any "house rules" 
you will be using. In the case of a dispute, 
the game referee or judge has the final 
say. Final! A tournament director or 
sponsor should keep his mouth firmly 
shut, and stand behind a judge's decision, 
even if the director or sponsor is not in 
total agreement. For this reason, choose 
only judges who are cool-headed and 
reasonable. 

Judges should settle disputes with 
quiet dignity, tact, and firmness. Don't 
argue, just state your decision and the 
reasoning behind it. Then, stick with 
it. Most gamers are rugged individualists, 
but they respect the voice of authority 
if handled rationally. In those rare cases 
where a gamer exhibits extremely poor 
sportsmanship, don't let him/her spoil 
everyone else's fun. Show him/her 
the door. 

With Micros, several different tour- 
nament rounds may be going at the same 
time if allowances are made for those 
gamers who may be entered in two or 
more events. Inevitably, there will be 
times when players will be "between 
rounds" with time to kill. Of course, 
there should be a lot of open gaming 
going on. (Try the "Let's you and him 
fight" ploy on two gamers who have 
never met. There is no faster way to 
make friends than to be enemies across 
a game table.) It doesn't hurt to have a 
few extra things planned as well. The 
Ohio Valley event featured a demon- 
stration of computer games on the Bally 
ARCADE and Radio Shack TRS-80. 
Also, a local dealer had a display 
and sales table set up. Your club may 
even want to sell things to raise money. 
Try a used game auction or a bunch of 
buttons with wargame/SF/fantasy-orien- 
ted sayings. (My favorite is "Wargamers 
do it at3-to-1l") 

A little bit of pomp and circumstance 
when presenting the winners with prizes 
and trophies is quite appropriate. Make 
sure to send out press releases identifying 
winners- good play deserves recognition. 

These are just a few guidelines for 
Microtournament organization. Each 
individual sponsoring group will have 
their own set of special problems to work 
out. Just remember the cardinal rule of 
tournament planning- games are for 
having fun. If you have fun planning, and 
plan so the players have fun playing, 
things will go smoothly. 

The MicroGame is perfect for tourna- 
ment play, and the Microtournament 
is perfect for a club's first event. Give it a 
try, and you may find tournaments 
aren't the impossible task they seem to 
be. (Believe me, if we did it, so can you!) 



10 



Playing the Odds 

at 

OGRE & G.E.V. 

by 
Roland Parenteau 



From the time you first play a solitaire 
game of OGRE, you know it's one game 
in which you throw the dice a lot. Be- 
cause the two games are so similar, you 
quickly find out the same thing about 
G.E.V. 

If you are a newcomer to wargaming, 
you might think any game in which you 
throw the dice so much is ruled by luck. 
The judgment is understandable, but 
not true. 

In fact, OGRE and G.E.V. are probab- 
ly less ruled by chance than many other 
games that rely on dice for combat 
resolution. The law of averages favors 
the evening of die rolls over the course 
of any game where that die is thrown 
many times. The more often you roll 
the die, the more likely it is that you will 
get as many high numbers as low ones, 
as many even numbers as odd, etc. 



This does not mean bad throws early 
in a game are likely to be followed by 
good throws later. It merely indicates 
that games with a high number of die 
rolls will have a higher likelihood of 
giving each player equal treatment than 
in games in which the die is rolled only 
a few times. 

All this talk of die-rolling means two 
things for the wargamer: 1) except in 
rare cases, the player who plays most 
skillfully will win the game; and 2) a 
player who can use probabilities better 
than his opponent will have a substantial 
advantage in the long run. 

OGRE and G.E.V. both give each 
player ample opportunity to use his 
knowledge of probabilities. Take the 
common problem of how to allocate 
attacks to inflict the maximum expected 
damage on an enemy target for a given 




firepower. For example, a player is often 
faced with the decision of whether to 
attack one enemy unit with one 2-1 
attack, or to attack the same target two 
times (with different units, of course) at 
1-1 each. Which is the better attack? 

The answer is two 1-1 shots. How do 
you figure? Let's go over the procedure. 

On a sheet of paper, list the 36 combi- 
nations in which two dice can be thrown 
(1/1, 1/2, . . .,6/6). For each combina- 
tion, pretend that each number is a die 
roll resolving a 1-1 attack, and write 
down the result of two combined 1-1 
attacks on the unit. (For the sake of 
argument, let's suppose the target is an 
armored, non-OGRE unit.) 

The combination 1/1, therefore, 
would have an effect of NE, while a com- 
bination 3/4 would have an X effect. 
(The 3 would bring a D result, and the 4 
would bring another D result on top of 
the already disabled unit.) 

Follow this procedure for armored 
units, then repeat it for infantry units 
and again for OGREs, remembering the 
different handling of D combat results for 
each unit type (infantry units are not 
disabled by D results, but simply lose one 
step- OGREs ignore D results altogether). 
When you are finished, add up the num- 
ber of X, D, and NE results. 

What you find may surprise you. 
While a single 2-1 attack against an 
armored unit gives a 50% chance of X, 
a 33% chance of D, and a 17% chance of 
NE, two 1-1 attacks give a 67% chance of 
X, a 22% chance of D, and only an 1 1% 
chance of an NE result. That means 
two 1-1 attacks have a better chance of 
destroying the unit outright than a 2-1 
attack, and less chance of missing. 

Results with other units are almost as 
favorable. With infantry as the target. 



11 



two 1-1 attacks give a 56% chance of X, 
an 11% chance of two D's, a 22% chance 
of obtaining a single D, and an 11% 
chance of NE. Against an OGRE, two 
1-1 attacks have a 56% chance of an X, 
compared to a 50% chance with the 
2-1 attack alone. 

Even these numbers do not tell the 
whole story. Splitting the 2-1 attack into 
two 1-1 's gives the attacker a chance 
to destroy the target with the first shot, 
thereby saving some firepower for ano- 
ther target. Against infantry units, there 
is also the possibility of obtaining two 
consecutive D results, reducing a target 
unit from a "3" to a "1". 

After obtaining these interesting re- 
sults for two 1-1 's vs. a single 2-1 attack, 
I investigated some other possible com- 
binations an OGRE or G.E.V. player 
might be tempted to try. The results are 
shown in the accompanying table. 

Obviously, not all the combinations 
proved to be as favorable for the player 
who wants to use the "spread-out-the- 
attack" strategy. Still, it helps to know 
those percentages. Also keep in mind 
that the percentages given in the table are 
the chances of obtaining a particular 
result on a given target for the overall 
combination of attacks, or for the single 
attack to which the combination is 
compared. Inconducting several attacks, 
there is always the possibility that an X 
result will be obtained on an early shot. 
This must be considered, along with the 
urgency of your position, in apportioning 
attacks. 

It can be shown mathematically that, 
in evaluating combinations of attacks 
involving two different odds (the 2-1 
and 1-1 vs. the 3-1, the 1-2 and 1-1 vs. 
the 2-1), the order of attacks makes no 
difference; the chances of obtaining X, 
D, and NE results remain exactly the 
same. 

Assessments of the effectiveness of 
each combination attack in place of the 
single attack to which it is compared 
follow. 

Two 1-1's vs. one 2-1: Two 1-1 
attacks are equal or better on every 
count, against every target. 

Two 1-2's vs. one 1-1: The two 
1-2 attacks come close, but are slightly 
less favorable than the single 1-1 attack. 

Two 2-1's vs. one 4-1: Percentages 
favor the 4-1, but not by much. The big 
difference is that two 2-1's give you a 
small chance of missing entirely, whereas 
the 4-1 gives you none. Two 2-1's would 
be an intelligent choice where you want 
to economize firepower. 




1-2 and 1-1 vs. 2-1: The 2-1 attack is 
better. 

2-1 and 1-1 vs. 3-1: If target is an 
armored unit, you are better off spread- 
ing out the attack. If target is an infan- 
try or OGRE unit, the 3-1 attack is 
better. 

Three 1- i's vs. one 3- 1: If the target is 



armor or infantry, three 1-1's are defin- 
itely better. If target is an OGRE, the 
3-1 is just slightly better- but since two 
1-1 shots give nearly a fifty percent 
chance of destroying the target, three 
1-1's might still be an attractive option. 

Three 1-2's vs. one 2-1: The three 
1-2's are not to be tried. 



CHANCE (%) OF OBTAINING GIVEN RESULT 
THROUGH ATTACK COMBINATIONS AND SINGLE ATTACKS 



Target is: ARMOR 

X D NE 



INFANTRY 
X -2 -1 NE 



Two 1-1*s 
vs. one 2-1 

Two 1-2's 
vs. one 1-1 

Two 2-1's 
vs. one 4-1 

1-2/1-1 
vs. one 2-1 

2-1/1-1 
vs. one 3-1 

Three 1-1's 
vs. one 3-1 

Three 1-2's 
vs. one 2-1 



67 
50 

33 
33 

86 
83 

50 

50 

78 
67 

85 
67 

48 
50 



22 
33 

22 

33 



11 
1? 

44 

33 



56 
50 

31 

33 



11 22 11 

33 17 

3 22 44 

33 33 



11 3 



17 

28 

33 

17 
33 

11 
33 

22 
33 





22 
17 

6 


4 



30 
17 



75 11 11 3 
83 17 



44 
50 



6 28 22 
33 17 



67 11 17 6 
67 33 



74 
67 



11 11 
33 



4 




43 6 22 30 
50 33 17 



OGRE 

X NE 

56 44 

50 50 

31 69 

33 67 

75 25 

83 17 

44 56 

50 50 

50 50 

67 33 

65 35 

67 33 

42 58 

50 50 



Figures shown are percentage chances of obtaining a given result. 



12 



SPACESHIP MINIATURES & RULES 



by 



Tony Watson 



Wargaming has traditionally been split 
into two broad categories: the familiar 
board game with (usually) a map and 
cardboard counters, and miniatures, ga- 
ming which utilizes miniature castings 
of metal or plastic and is played without 
benefit of hexgrid, on any large, flat 
area. 

It has only been recently that Science- 
Fiction gaming has become popular 
enough to warrant its own, specialized 
lines of miniatures. The general rise in 
popularity of the SF gaming genre has 
led, in just the last few years, to a pro- 
liferation of miniatures lines dealing 
with the subject. While both tactical 
surface combat (ala STARSHIP TRO- 
OPERS) and ship to ship fighting now 
have representative pieces available, the 
scope of this article allows me to deal 
only with the latter. 

Spaceship miniatures offer consider- 
able interest because unlike tactical 
infantry figures which are restricted for 
a number of reasons, (the foremost 
most being anatomical considerations), 
more artistic license is allowed. Some of 
the designs presently offered are quite 
impressive, both in general design and 
individual detail. 

Coupled with the increase in ship 
models available are the rules to go with 
them. In some cases, the rules are de- 
signed to be used with a certain line of 
models, while others are more general 
and can be adopted for any models. 

Some rules deal with science fiction 
sources familiar to us such as TV's 
Star Trek. Gamescience's STARFLEET 
BATTLE MANUAL is the culmination 
of a number of years' work in the minia- 
tures field by its designer, Lou Zocchi. 
It is a third generation game, using and 
building on the system first pioneered 
in THE STAR TREK BATTLE MANUAL 
and later, refined in ALIEN SPACE. The 
first game was sold without any license 
from Paramount, a situation the produc- 
tion company quickly remedied by 
threatening to sue if any more copies 
were sold. (This, incidently, made the 
game something of a collector's item.) 
Not long after, Zocchi came out with 
ALIEN SPACE, an expanded game 
using the same basic system as the ill- 
fated STAR TREK game. Then, in 1976, 



the final rules offering appeared, with a 
return to the Star Trek theme, but this 
time with Paramount's blessing. 

As far as the rules system goes, the 
STARFLEET BATTLE MANUAL carries 
on the traditions of the first games. Each 
ship has a record sheet covered in plastic 
and to be written on with a grease pencil. 
Per-turn power allocations from the en- 
gines are distributed between shields, 
phasers (or other weapons in the case of 
ALIEN SPACE), torpedoes, sensing, life 
support and movement. The STAR 
TREK game allows for shields in dif- 
ferent quadrants to be set at different 
power levels. Combat is handled unique- 
ly, in that each ship has a square, 3"x3" 
cardstock template with a to 360 
compass described around it, and a five 
foot length of string fixed to the center. 
The firing player calls out a degree 
heading and stretches the string out 
along it; if it crosses an opposing ship 
there is a hit and phaser power is com- 
pared to shields to determine damage. 

The game rules are good, and give an 
accurate feel for the Star Trek setting. 
There is enough detail in the rules that 
each player can have an enjoyable game 
captaining one or two ships. More 
players can easily be fitted in by using 
multi-commanders per side. 

Miniatures are available only for the 
STARFLEET game. They are of plastic 
and about two inches long. Detail is 
minor, but then the ships in the series 
were rather smooth hulled. Each comes 
with pylon for mounting. Pieces in the 
set are four types of Federation craft: 
scout, destroyer, dreadnought and cru- 
sier, a Klingon battle-crusier, Romulan 
Bird of Prey and a Tholian. Models 
range in price from $2 to S3. It should 
be noted however, that the templates 
mentioned above are the only thing 
essential to the play of the game; one 
could easily forgo the ship models if he 
wished, though they do add consider- 
able visual appeal. 

Also based on Star Trek (but not 
coming right out and saying it) is Wee 
Warriors' THE EMBATTLED TREK. 
Like the Gamescience rules, cardstock 
ships are included, being incredibly 
baroque in design. The rules are fairly 
simple, only three pages long, and once 



again depend on energy allocation among 
various ship systems. 

Two companies offer complete minia- 
tures systems (ship models and coordi- 
nated rules sets.) The oldest is McEwan 
Miniatures with their STARWAR 2250 
ships and rules. 

The rules are one of the more exten- 
sive, being 44 pages long and containing 
both tactical and strategic rules as well as 
an outline on merging the game with 
McEwan's successful line of ground 
troops, STARGUARD. The strategic 
rules allow for exploration, variable 
planet types, indigenous populations, and 
the creation of outposts and colonies. 

The tactical rules are well thought out, 
though parts come across somewhat 
murkier than one would like. There are 
status charts for each ship class (you need 
to make copies before playing). These 
form the basis for play. Ships move by 
vector, in three dimensions. Combat is 
by a varied array of weapons: lasers, 
torpedoes, Anti-Matter Projectors, and 
splinter head missiles (something of a 
tactical MIRV). Defensive system include 
screens and anti-torpedo rockets. All of 
the weapons differ from one another in 
significant ways, but their individual 
rules are not so complex as to make play 
tedious. Damage is figured in structure 
points which accumulate towards the 
final destruction of the craft. A large 
amount of special damage results knock 
out turrets, launchers and other indivi- 
dual systems. 

The McEwan line of ships is intended 
specifically for these rules. It includes, 
at present, sixteen types of ships (not all 
of which are covered in the rules, imply- 
ing an expansion kit. The models are in 
lead, and the designs are fairly traditional. 
The Federation (Earth) craft are all 
needle-nosed and delta winged. The hulls 
are streamlined and details, such as laser 
blisters and vision ports, are all that are 
present. This makes painting and prepa- 
ration time fairly short. Another advan- 
tage of this line is their relative inexpen- 
siveness: ships are priced from 50 cents 
to S1, most being 75 cents. 

Superior Models also offers a coordi- 
nated set of rules/pieces, under the 
heading STARFLEET WARS. The rules 
come boxed, along with a destroyer 



13 



model from each of the five races in the 
game. This reviewer is not particularly 
fond of this packaging tactic since it 
ups the price of the rules package consi- 
derably, and essentially forces the buyer 
to purchase models he may not want. 
The rules are simple, fast and clean. 
Ships have offensive and defensive 
factors which they may power from their 
power quota. Firing is conducted by 
rolling percentage dice (provided) on 
a chart, matrixing speed and distance. 
Damage is taken only in terms of power 
units. The advanced rules add a little 
more variety. Special rules are included 
for fighters, both in intercept and attack 
roles, a close-in defense system against 
fighters, (actually just a percentage roll 
to destroy attacking fighters), board- 
ing!?), an energy damping field, invisi- 
bility shields, and particle weapons. The 
latter pierces opposing shields and have 
the ability to inflict some rather incon- 
sequential special damage. 

The Superior line of starships includes 
ships of five races (Human, Avarian, 
Entomalian, Aquarian, Carnivoran) and 
each race has a representative Dread- 
nought, attack carrier, battlecruiser, cruis- 
er, and destroyer as well as a fighter. The 
models have a lot of detail (bordering on 
the garish) and are bristling with turrets, 
sensor modules and a variety of other 
odds and ends whose purposes we can 
only guess at. My major criticism of the 
ship designs is, for some reason, the 
designer felt it neccessary that the ships 
in some way resemble the race that 
built them. Hence, Carnivoran ships 
have a cat-like appearance, and the 
Aquarians look like turtles. Only the 
Terran ships don't look this way, and 
they, well I'm surprised the Star Wars 
Corporation hasn't sued over the resemb- 
lence to their "Imperial Stardestroyer"! 
The ship pieces are fairly large and expen- 
sive, the large ships running upwards of 
S4. 



Taken as a whole, the Superior line is 
something of a dissappointment. The 
ships are not, at least in my opinion very 
appealing. They are high priced, and 
the rules have a sort of thrown together 
feeling. 

Valiant Miniatures offers one of the 
oldest (if not the oldest) lines of lead 
spaceships available. The ships are 
very detailed with fuel lines, weapons, 
and other equipment visible. In direct 
contrast to the McEwan ships, these are 
obviously not intended to land on sur- 
faces, with their protruding guns and 
round command modules. Only the 
smaller craft appear capable of planet 
fall. 

This line is divided into humans 
(the ubiquitous Federation again) and 
aliens. The alien ships are truly bizarre 
looking, though similar enough in general 
design to mesh with the Earth vessels. 
Various heavy ships are available (1 or 2 
per package at $3.50): Heavy cruisers, 
battlecruisers, escorts and destroyers. 
Smaller craft (4-15 per package) include 
scouts, interceptors, assault ships, and 
three kinds of fighters. Valiant also has 
available fleet supply ships and hyper- 
space submarines (?). More ships are 
planned. One nice touch, these ships are 
made to fit on stands Valiant provides 
(in separate packages), and thus look 
much better on the gaming table. 

No rules are specified for these ships. 
The designers offer a few suggestions in 
the instruction/brochure included in each 
package, and the gamer interested can 
check out any of the rules reviewed later 
in this article that are not intended for 
any particular miniatures line. 

A similar case exists with the "Space 
Squadrons 2998" from Grenadier, the 
most recent of the space fleet lines to 
appear. The Grenadier castings come in 
blister packs for S3. 50. Each pack con- 
tains one battleship or two cruisers (one 
heavy, one light) or eight fighters, for 



either the (you guessed it) Earth Feder- 
ation or Alien Invasion Fleet. In addition 
there are three packs representing the 
Auxiliary Belt Fleet, two being cruiser 
types and the latter being fighters. A 
fourth group is the Tech-World fleet 
consisting entirely of support ships 
(minelayers, refuelers, etc). The Grena- 
dier line is unique in that it is only one 
to feature a spacestation, "Battlestation 
Armageddon" is built by buying various 
kits (such as platforms or installations 
and accessories) and fitting them together 
as the gamer sees fit. Unfortunately, the 
result (if the photograph in the catalog 
is any indication), is a daddylonglegs 
with laser mounts. 

On the whole, the Grenadier line is 
a nice compromise between the simplicity 
and economical price of the McEwan 
line and the detail and expense of the 
Valiant. The castings are of high quality 
and nice detail. Some of the ships, such 
as the Aurora class Attack Cruiser are 
real beauties. 

A final line to be reviewed is that 
offered by Minifigs. This is a rather 
scattered collection of ten ships spread 
over four races. The line has been out for 
a number of years and no additions 
have been made, so one can conjecture 
that Minifigs is not pushing the SF 
aspect much. 

The nice thing about this group is the 
price. The catalog I have (about a year 
old) lists prices ranging from 25-60cents 
per ship, comparing very favorably to any 
of the lines listed above. The castings 
though, are small, and at least to my 
sense of esthetics, kind of weird looking. 
Minifigs also offers a fair range of infan- 
try coordinating with the spaceship races, 
but the same brand of "originality" of 
design seems to extend to these as well. 

If you are looking for a set of rules 
to go with those miniatures that don't 
have a coordinating rules volume, or are 
unhappy with those that do, the follow- 



14 




ing three are some of the best. 

GALACTIC WAR by Tabletop games 
features some nice, introductory level 
rules that are easily adaptable to any 
model series. Ships have beginning 
levels of energy to be expended on 
movement, weapons and shield. The 
fuel level is finite though, and falls 
rapidly. A unique four-phase system 
(requiring written orders) allows for some 
second guessing. Because ships may not 
have screens up in the same phase as they 
fire, firing ships are not very vulnerable. 
Once torpedoes and lasers get through the 
screen there is a table to roll on to 
determine what is hit. Three classes of 
ships, with varying energy levels, and 
rear and forward firing laser guns and 
torpedo tubes are included. Some nice 
cardstock ships, printed in color are 
included. 

A more sophisticated effort can be 
found in STAR COMMAND. These 
rules provide an outline for a strategic 
game and some interesting historical 
background and psuedo-scientific ma- 
terial, along with some good solid tactical 
rules. Four classes of ships are listed for 
both the Terrans and aliens, though they 
vary slightly for each side. Weapons 
include beams, lasers, and seeker missiles; 
defense is by screens. As in most rules, 
per turn energy to the various systems 
is the core of the system. One fairly 
clever idea is that the ships are allowed 
to carry a given number of weapons; 
type is left up to the player. The variety 
of weapons, each using a different CRT 
and a little adaptation would make these 
rules suitable for any model series the 



gamer might use. 

A final rules booklet, STELLAR 
WARS, makes a massive attempt to be 
the rules for all model lines. Forsaking 
any particular "historical" or technical 
framework, these rules list a myriad 
of offensive, defensive, and propulsion 
systems all given values in the game and 
assigned a certain point cost for building. 
The broadbase of systems available would 
allow castings from any and all of the 
above model lines to fight side by side. 
Towards the end of the book is a compi- 
lation of ship pieces available by various 
manufacturers and a guide to intergrating 
them into a campaign. A good effort, 
but a little cluttered. 

To a much greater degree than board- 
gaming, miniatures require time. A 
boardgame can be broken out, the rules 
read, and play started in a single after- 
noon. Miniatures are a totally different 
case. There is considerable preparation 
involved before play can even begin. 
Painting requires some skill, but more 
important is patience. Casting can be 
given a hurry-up-and-let's play paint 
job taking twenty minutes or so, or the 
gamer can opt for a showcase effort, with 
every line perfect and every detail taken 
care of. The gamer working with space- 
ships is more fortunate than those work- 
ing with figures, since he can get away 
with less detail on the ships. Still each 
model must be cleaned, flash removed, 
primer applied, and finally, painted. 
Stands and other play aids might also 
need to be constructed. 

Another major consideration is mo- 
ney. Unlike boardgames, which, for the 



most part, only require a one time outlay 
of $10-315, building a decent size fleet 
for two opposing sides can be fairly 
expensive. With the vast majority of the 
model lines mentioned here, this could 
run upwards of S35-S50 for just mode- 
rate forces. Most miniatures players 
make a very large initial purchase and add 
on as funds allow. Another way to get 
around this is to play in groups, with 
certain players providing the ships for one 
side. Tools must also be taken into 
account, as the models can't be prepared 
without items such as X-acto blades, 
a good set of brushes, and of course, 
paint. 

A final element is space. Miniatures 
require at least a 4' x 4' area— many 
rules will require more room unless you 
alter the distances used. You need to 
have plenty of room to maneuver, for 
a good game. Usually a good size table 
or tile floor will do. 

These last few points are not meant to 
scare anyone away from miniatures, 
only to inform them of the large invest- 
ment in time and money required. 
Indeed, acquiring and painting your mo- 
dels is often more fun than playing with 
them! 

Miniatures can be an interesting asset 
to any SF gamer's array of boardgames. 
Playing times tend to be shorter than 
most boardgames and miniatures battles 
are much more colorful than those 
pushing cardboard counter around on a 
hexgrid. It is hoped that this brief survey 
has served to help those gamers interested 
in this facet of the hobby. 



15 



As a tactical game, BLACK HOLE 
covers its subject very well, but I have 
some nagging doubts about those ruins 
scattered about the sunside of Dunkin's 
asteroid. I propose the following addi- 
tions to the game: 

1) The first addition is simply a new 
unit, infantry in armored space suits. 
Infantry are a laser class combat unit, 
although their weapons are low power, 
and therefore of limited range. Their 
primary mission is that of classic foot 
sloggers, to go in and hold the territory. 
The infantry counter's factors are 1-3-1. 
All are identical. OLYMPICA'S counters 
serve very well since they are also blue 
and white, simply ignore their printed 
values. Infantry double their defensive 
value in any type of terrain other than 
clear (ruins, mountains and craters). 
They may never use jump movement. 
Their combat range is always one hex. 
Infantry may be carried by other units, 
and must land on Dunkin's asteroid in 
their carriers. The primary infantry 
carrier is the PSV, which may carry two 
units. The secondary carrier is the HEV, 
which may carry one unit. Infantry enter 
or leave their carriers at the beginning of 
the movement phase, and the carrier may 
move the turn they enter or leave it. 
Infantry occupying ruins count as HEVs 
for victory point purposes. To represent 
their higher value, they cost two, rather 
than one point. 

2) The black hole distorts the gravita- 
tional field within the center of the torus, 
therefore, lasers, whose beam would be 
bent and absorbed, should be more 
limited than they are. To represent their 
inability to fire straight across the inter- 
ior, assume the black hole creates a dark 
space blocking the opposite side of the 
donut's interior. To determine the dark 
space, count fifteen hexes along the same 
hex row as the laser combat unit. The 
dark space is from the thirteenth to the 
seventeenth hex along that row. In other 
words, the dark space for a laser combat 
unit inside the torus is a five hex band 
halfway around the inside. Laser fire 
into that band is blocked for that unit. 
Note that every laser unit on the inside 
has its own separate dark space. 

3) The last suggestions directly relate 
to the game's objective, the ruins. When- 
ever a player first occupies any ruin, he 
must roll for random events to see if he 
has awakened any alien devices. The roll 
is two six-sided die, whose result is com- 
pared to the random events table. 



Getting More From 

BLACK HOLE 

by 

Glenn L. Williams 



RANDOM EVENTS TABLE 



Roll 


Event 


2 


Black hole opens 


3 


Friendly missile 


4 


Friendly laser 


5 


Neutral laser 


6 


Normal victory points 


7 


Normal victory points 


8 


Normal victory points 


9 


Neutral missile 


10 


Hostile laser 


11 


Hostile missile 


12 


Black hole opens 



Explanation of random events: 

Black hole opens. The black hole in 
the center of the asteroid is actually a 
gate for inter-stellar alien ships (as in 
Adrian Berry's THE IRON SUN). Alien 
ships are assumed to be in jump for the 
duration of the game and are equipped 
with both lasers and a TMU missile 
launch capacity. Their attack is deter- 
mined randomly against any units on the 
interior surface of the asteroid or in 
jump. Laser capacity is 6, and their 
defense strength is two. One alien ship 
will appear in each subsequent landing 
phase of the player who triggered this 
response. 

Friendly missile. The ruin contains a 
DMU launcher (defense strength two) 
which the triggering player has at his 
disposal throughout the remainder of the 
game. It is a fixed installation. Alien 
missiles never detonate when they strike 
mountains, they simply pass through 
them. They will however, detonate when 
passing through any friendly unit other 
than one occupying their own ruin. 

Friendly laser. As with a friendly 
missile, except the fixed installation is 
a four point laser, defense strength two. 



Alien lasers do not have the dark space 
limitation. 

Neutral laser. A four attack point, 
two defense strength laser, which will 
attack the nearest human unit in every 
laser combat phase. 

Normal victory points. No odd or 
unusual results. Only on a roll of 5, 6 or 
7 does a player receive victory points 
for occupying the ruin in question. 

Neutral missile. Like a neutral laser in 
that it attacks any human unit, although 
always the nearest. It is a DMU with a 
defense strength of two. Its missiles do 
not detonate when passing through 
mountains. 

Hostile laser. Like a friendly laser, 
except that it becomes a unit for the 
player's opponent. 

Hostile missile. A fixed installation 
DMU, defense strength two, available 
to the player's opponent. 

Note that for each player there are 
three possible random events rolls, one 
for each ruin. It is possible to have one 
ruin fighting for and another against 
him. Enemy units destroyed by alien 
units working for the player do count 
for victory points for either player. It 
is permissible to attack an alien instal- 
lation, destroy the active combat unit, 
occupy the ruin, roll and have a favor- 
able result. 

I hope that these suggestions add to 
your enjoyment of a fine, though weird, 
game. The random events table is merely 
one interpretation of the nature of the 
ruins. I viewed them somewhat like a 
spider's web. An enterprising player 
could easily dream of extraordinary 
adventures to be found in trying to take 
the asteroid and its artifacts. 



16 



THE DERYNI 

by 
Ronald Pehr 




Katherine Kurtz has written a series of 
stories about a world resembling England 
in the Middle Ages. There is high chival- 
ry, the power of the Church, and the 
politics of feudalism. There is also the 
Deryni. These are a mutant off-shoot of 
humanity, possessing psychic talents. 
Few in number, they are viewed by the 
general populace as evil practioners of 
black magic and withchcraft. Much of 
the plot in Ms. Kurtz' stories deals with 
the friction between humanity and the 
Deryni. 

Deryni are human in appearance, 
tending toward slimness of build. The 
psychic talents are genetically dominant, 
so that the rare marriages of humankind 
and Deryni produce Deryni offspring. 
Deryni fit admirably into a fantasy game 
conducted under MELEE/WIZARD rules. 

Deryni characters should start with 
ST 6, DX 10, IO 8, plus 8 extra points, 
as Elves, but without the extra MA of 
Elves. Unlike regular wizard-types, 
Deryni are not hampered by the need to 
learn a discipline foreign to mortal beings. 
Training brings out their powers more 
fully, but it is development of a natural 
talent rather than an attempt to alter 
natural laws by concentration of thought, 
as human magic. Any Deryni met in a 
game can be presumed to have had any 
training necessary as a child, again in 
contrast to human Wizards who certainly 
could not begin to learn the study of sor- 
cery until well into their teens. It is the 
difference between learning to walk and 
learning to fly a plane. 

Thus, a Deryni can function as a 
warrior, without the -4DX penalty for 
use of a weapon that is incurred by 
wizards. In physical combat, Deryni 



warriors are subject to the same DX 
modification for their armor and ST 
limitations on their weapons as any 
other MELEE warrior. The psychic 
powers manifest themselves in a MELEE/ 
WIZARD game as magic spells, Such 
"spells" are rolled against DX unadjusted 
for armor, and they are available regard- 
less of IQ. All Deryni can cast the fol- 
lowing spells, the same way as other spells 
are cast in WIZARD, without loss of ST: 
Drop weapon 
Fire in 1 hex 
Image of 1 hex 
Destroy Creation 
Mage Sight 

The following spells are also available, 
regardless of IQ, but do use ST points: 
Spell Shield 

Death 
Any Illusion 
Destroy Illusion 
Images greater than 1 hex can be cast 
with 1/2 usual ST cost. Restoration of 
ST - This only works on another figure, 
supplying ST on a 1 for 1 basis. Unlike 
an Aid Spell, the restoration is perma- 
nent, but cannot be used to bring a 
figure above the ST it started with. 

Four Deryni, acting in concert, can 
erect a one-megahex Circle of Protection 
(Treat as Missile-Type Spell for distance, 
only one of the four must make the DX 
roll). The Circle is impervious to move- 
ment, missiles, weapons, or spells. It 
costs no ST to erect or maintain but the 
four can take no other action while 
concentrating. The Circle is used as a 
defense, or as a mini-arena where formal 
duels between Deryni are fought. 

Obviously, matching ordinary warriors 
against Deryni warriors in fair fight is 
unfeasible for the humans. Deryni can 
be attached to an expedition of standard 
warriors on a 5%, 10%, or 20% basis, 
depending on what the opposition has 
in store. The fantasy world you make up 
might have true human wizards as a 
rarity, with extra-normal powers usually 
available only to those predisposed by 
birth, such as Deryni, and perhaps Elves. 
Deryni can be matched against each other 
in duels, or against human Wizards. 
Even a Deryni wizard is possible, having 
the attributes of a Deryni plus the spells 
per IQ of a wizard, if set against foes of 
awesome power (Gargoyle Wizards, a con- 
tingent of Motie Warriors, technological 
foes). In contrast, there could be Deryni 
without warrior training, who must 
rely solely on their powers and perhaps 
a knife, against armed, armored or 
magical foes. 



17 



GAMING CONVENTIONS: 

MON CON III: (March 30 to April 1) 
Conference Center, West Virginia Univer- 
sity, Morgantown, WV. A combination 
SF and wargaming con, which will feature 
guests Joe Haldeman and Marc Miller. 
Info: Mon Con III, Conference Center, 
WV University, Morgantown, WV 26506. 

CANGAMES 79: (May 20-22) Univer- 
sity of Ottawa. GoH: Gary Gygax. 
Info: Cangames '79, 201-360 Dundas St., 
Vanier, Ontario, Canada, K 1 L 7W7. 

GLASCON IV: Greater Los Angeles 
Simulations Convention (June 15, 16, 17) 
$3 pre-reg; $5 at the door at CSU, North- 
ridge. For further information write: 
CSUN-SGA 7133 Reseda Blvd., Reseda, 
CA 91335. Dealers invited. 



THINGS THAT CAME IN THE MAIL: 

SIGNAL no. 141: Signal is the newszine 
of the gaming field. No. 141 is the 
holiday edition and has an excellent cover 
by Phil Foglio. Regular features include 
a con list, new products, magazine 
reviews, and an assortment of various 
gaming news. Subs: 5/S1, Signal, 46 
Carleton St., Oromocto, N.B., Canada, 
E2V 2C8. Sent cash or make checks 
payable to John Mansfield. 

Moravian Dynasty: M.D.'s 2nd anniver- 
sary issue contained a detailed review of 
Unentschieden, an article on Stellar 
Conquest, plus other articles and reviews 
including an essay on grilled cheese 
sandwiches. MD features include a 
balance of Diplomacy, SF and fantasy 
games along with the usual wargames. 
Subs: 12/S3.50 or 3/S1 on a trial basis. 
Make checks payable to Robert Goldman, 
200 Old Army Rd., Scarsdale, NY 10583. 

OUTPOSTS: Issue no.12 has articles on 
Desert Fox, Panzerblitz, Tobruk, Battle 
for France, and an index to the General 
volumes 7-6 to 15-2. Outposts also 
includes a wide variety of features: game 
reviews, contests, gaming news, and even 
a gaming crossword puzzle. Subs: 4/$6, 
1/$1.75, make checks payable to Conflict 
Simulation Society, 2 Desmond Run, 
Sickleville, NJ 08081. 



APPLE LANE and CREATURES OF 
CHAOS 1 have been released by Chao- 
sium. Both are additions to RUNE- 
QUEST, another Chaosium game. Prices 
are $4 for Apple Lane, and S2 for Crea- 
tures of Chaos 1. They are available from 
The Chaosium, P.O. Box 6302, Albany, 
NY 94706. 

THE DRAGONLORDS is a new release 
from Fantasy Games Unlimited. It is a 
two player boardgame. Components 
include a 21 page rules book, 23"x28" 
map, 266 die-cut counters, and eight 
supplementary sheets. THE DRAGON- 
LORDS comes in a zip-lock bag . It is 
available from Fantasy Games Unlimited, 
P.O. Box 182, Roslyn, NY 11576. 



WARGAMER's INFORMATION: Wl 
is a newszine published by Flying Buf- 
falo. Much of the news concerns Flying 
Buffalo Products, but Wl has announce- 
ments of club meetings, new products 
and con reports. Subs: 12/$2.50, 
Flying Buffalo Inc., PO Box 1467, 
Scottsdale, AZ 85252. 



Nfiwsfi Plug s 



Hex-O-Gram is a catalogue published by 
Lou Zocchi of GameScience. If you 
don't have access to a well stocked 
hobby store, Hex-O-Gram provides an 
excellent service. For a free copy write 
Lou Zocchi, 7604 Newton Drive, Biloxi, 
MS 39532. 



NEBULA AWARD NOMINATIONS: The 
1978 Nebula Awards nominations were 
released on January 24, 1979. They 
include the following novels: 

DREAMSNAKE- Vonda Mclntyre 

STRANGERS- Gardner Dozois 

THE FADED SUN: KESRITH- 

C.J. Cherryh 
KALKI- Gore Vidal 
BLIND VOICES- Tom Reamy 

DUNE FANS REJOICE! -Frank Her- 
bert's DUNE has been sold to Dino 
deLaurentis for a record $1,000,000. 
Herbert will also do the screenplay for 
the movie. He will get extra money for 
the script, and more money in the form 
of a percentage of the film's gross profit. 
Herbert was in the process of writing 
DUNE IV when the deal came through. 
He will start work on the movie imme- 
diately, shelving the new book for awhile. 




18 



SF CONVENTIONS: 

AGGIECON X: (March 29- April 1) 
Texas A&M campus, College Station, 
TX. GoH: Theodore Sturgeon, Guest 
Artist: Boris. Mem: S5 till March 16, 
S6 after. The best SF con in Texas, 
fine facilities, good con staff, and lots 
of quality films. Info: AggieCon X, 
Memorial Student Center, Box 5718, 
College Station, TX 77844. 

LUNACON 79: (March 29- April 1) 
Sheraton Inn at LaGuardia, New York 
City. GoH: Ron Goulart. Mem: S7.50 
to March 15, $9.50 after. Info: Luna- 
Con '79, c/o Walter Cole, 1171 East 8th 
St., Brooklyn, NY 11230. 



URCON I: (March 31, 11am-1am) 
GoH: Roger Zelazny. The University 
of Rochester Science Fiction Society 
is sponsoring this one day con. Listed 
events include gaming, masquerade, and 
art show. Membership is S4 until March 
15, and S5 at the door. For more info: 
URCON I, Box 5036 River Station, 
Rochester, NY 14627. 

AMBERCON: (April 6-8) Wichita 
Royale, Wichita, KS. GoHs: Roger 
Zelazny, Richard Delap, Wilson Tucker. 
Mem: S5. Info: Gordon Garb, 505 N. 
Rock Rd. no. 909, Wichita KS 67206. 

BALTICON 13: (April 13-15) Hunt 
Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD. Mem: $5 
in advance, S7 at the door. Info: Balti- 
more SF Society, PO Box 686, Baltimore, 
MD 21203. 




PENULTICON: (May 25-28) Cosmopo- 
litan Hotel, Denver, CO. GoHs: C.J. 
Cherryh, Samuel Delany, Ed Bryant. 
Mem: $10. Info: Penulticon, Box 
11545, Denver, CO 80211. 

JUST IMAGICON: (May 25-27) Holiday 
Inn Rivermont, Memphis, Tennessee. 
GoHs: L. Sprague de Camp, Kelly Freas. 
Mem: $10 till April 1, $15 after. Info: 
Louis Armor, 4475 Martha Cole, Mem- 
phis, Tenn. 38118. 

BYOB-CON 9: (May 25-27) Heritage 
Inn, Kansas City, MO. GoHs: Karl 
Edward Wagner, Andrew Offutt. Mem: 
S8 till May 1, $10 after. Info: Byob- 
Con 9, c/o 3720 Jefferson, Kansas City, 
MO 64111. 

MIDWESTCON 79: (June 22-24) Info: 
Lou Tabakow, 3953 St. Johns Terrace, 
Cincinnati, OH 45236. 

WESTERCON 32: (July 4-8) Sheraton 
Palace, San Francisco, CA. Mem: $7.50, 
GoHs: Richard Lupoff, Bruce Pelz, 
Marta Randall. Info; Westercon 32, 
4682 18th St., San Francisco, CA 941 14. 

CONEBULUS III: (July 20-22) Thruway 
Hilton Inn, Syracuse, NY. Mem: $6 till 
7/1 $10 after. Info: Carol Gobeyn, 
619 Stolp Ave., Syracuse, NY 13207. 

DEEPSOUTHCON: (July 20-22) La 
Pavilion Hotel, New Orleans. GoH: 
R.A. Lafferty. Mem: $7.50, $10 at the 
door. Info: Sons of the Sand, Ltd., 
1903 Dante St., New Orleans, LA 701 18. 

MOSCON I: (September 29- October 1) 
University Best Western Inn, Moscow, 
Idaho. GoH: Verna Smith ("Doc" 
Smith's Daughter) Distinguished Guest: 
Robert Heinlein-health permitting. Mem- 
bership is $6 until September 1, S8 after 
then. More info: Moscon I, P.O. Box 
9141, Moscow, Idaho 83843. 



NOREASCON TWO: 38th World Science 
Fiction, "WorldCon" (August 29-Sep- 
tember 1, 1980) Sheraton-Boston Hotel. 
GoHs: Damon Knight & Kate Wilhelm. 
This is the BIGGY. Memberships are 
$8 supporting, $15 attending in the 
first half of 1979. Info requests from 
NOREASCON II, P.O. Box 46, MIT 
Branch P.O., Cambridge, MA 02139. 



19 



History buffs will always remember 
fondly one lunatic who used to live in 
San Francisco. This man believed he was 
the Emperor and true ruler of that city. 
He lived in a great old mansion over- 
looking the Bay and called himself 
Emperor Norton. He is commemorated 
by the tourist boats there which are 
named after him. 

LORDS OF THE MIDDLE SEA is a 
lot like Emperor Norton-- it doesn't seem 
to quite know what it really is. It seems 
to think it is a most magnificent thing- a 
strategic wargame with tactical richness 
and role-playing! Honest! 

This game has wonderful parents. 
Where did they go wrong? The father is 
Lynn Willis, the wise old sage who 
conjured up Metagaming's GODSFIRE 
and OLYMPICA. The proud mother is 
The CHAOSium, the "relatively new and 
infant game company" (it says that right 
in their literature) which gave birth to the 
immortal WHITE BEAR AND RED 
MOON. 

So meet LORDS OF THE MIDDLE 
SEA, the game of North America reborn 
in 2401 A.D. Some mild cataclysms have 
struck our home continent: the Great 
Plains have fallen into the ocean, volca- 
noes have added some mountains, the sea 
has risen thirty feet to wash away many 
of our favorite metropolises, and the 
world was demolished by a nuclear war. 

The components are of fair quality. 
The map is 22" x 34" and seems sturdy. 
All 252 counters are provided, though 
some people will find the soft pastel 
colors hard to distinguish after a few 
hours of play. The rulebook calls for two 
sets of play-aids, but the CHAOSium has 
combined them by printing on each 
other's flipside. Since it is impossible 
to read the Terrain Effects Table when 
the Battalia side is covered with rein- 
forcement counters, the company has 
kindly provided a surplus Terrain Effects 
Table to pass around. The advertisements 
call the 12-page rulebook "large", which 
must be because all of the printing is 
done in little type. 

As I mentioned earlier, this game has 
delusions of grandeur. Official adver- 
tisements proclaim it ". . .A STRATEGIC 
GAME. . ." with ". . .TACTICAL RICH- 
NESS. . .". I personally am at a loss to 
find any tactical richness when moving 
counters representing fleets (10-15 ships), 
air support (5-7 dirigibles), and large 
land forces (600-3000 men). Ignore the 
rulebook's pictures of the dramatic duel 
between a missile-firing wooden frigate 
and two dirigibles, one of which is 
going down in flames. This is a game of 
masses, not of tactical units. 



LORDS 

of the 

MIDDLE SEA 

a review 

by 
W. G. Armintrout 



The Basic Game is, nevertheless, 
good. Six pages of rules explain how to 
fight and move and you're ready to play. 
Three scenarios are given, allowing from 
2-4 players. The four nations are TRANS- 
WYOMING (present-day Washington, 
Idaho and Montana), MEXICO (based in 
the industrial capital of the world. . . 
. .Utah), NAHUA (where Mexico used to 
be before it migrated), and THE WAR- 
DOMS (the islands of New England, 
across the Nebraska Sea). Each nation 
has its personal advantage. Transwyo- 
ming has more of the cavalry-like hordes. 
The Wardoms have more naval forces. 
Nahua, because of its numerous cities, 
raises more of the city infantry known 
as gangs (farm boys are called levies). 
Mexico has the technological advantage 
and starts with the dirigibles. 

Turns represent three months. Mili- 
tary options include amphibious and 
aerial assaults, interceptions by defending 
forces of attacking units, and a com- 
fortable stacking rule limiting unit 
concentration according to the type of 
terrain. Reinforcements can be raised 
on any city, farm, and at remote points 
in the jungle where the hordes roam. 
Some nice optional rules allow enemies 
to destroy the dikes of New England 
(flooding the countryside), and introduce 
antiquated artillery which is so unreliable 



that its combat factors are determined 
by die roll before every combat. 

The Basic Game is a good, above 
average wargame. It is fun to play and 
worth replaying. The "tactical richness" 
is a lot of malarky (kind word) but it's 
still a nice game. 

On to the Advanced Game, which 
takes up six more pages of rules! The 
advertisement sums it well: ". . THE 
ADVANCED GAME ADDS ECONO- 
MICS, DIPLOMACY, CAMPAIGNS, 
SUNKEN CITY MINING, QUESTS, LI- 
BRARIES AND MORE." 

Now, there are some good moments 
here. A simple economics section allows 
players to save and spend from treasuries 
to get reinforcements instead of accepting 
the automatic allotments of the Basic 
Game. Diplomacy rules add a new 
counter, the emissary, which travels to 
neutral lands to recruit mercenaries and 
rent wooden floating cities known as 
arks. The supply rule gives a purpose 
to the supply wagon counters, but it 
needs some work. From here on the 
Advanced Game is strictly downhill. 

Ruler markers are allowed to go on 
quests and accumulate "banner points". 
A ruler with enough points becomes a 
Hero-king and selects a secret power from 
a table. Powers range from being able to 
lead armies over impassable mountains 



20 



to a special ability to rearrange player 
order twice per game. Quests give more 
banner points than anything else but are 
terribly dull, like circumnavigating a con- 
tinent or touring the homeland. After 
each Quest a ruler gets to roll a die to see 
if he discovered a library, which can do 
things like eliminate winter movement 
restrictions or double transport fleet 
capacity. A Hero-king who discovers 
a library is known as a Sorceror-king. 

None of this goes over too great with 
me, but then something tastes sour in 
my mouth when I find I'm supposed to 
be sending my ruler off on quests to be- 
come a Hero-king while I am also trying 
to fight a stategic war. After all, in 
Avalon Hill's THIRD REICH nobody 
makes Hitler get on a boat and sail 
around Europe. . . 

The sunken city mining is only a 
minor loathsome point, where players 
anchor arks over sunken cities and roll 
die to see if they've discovered any trea- 
sure. 

What can be said about LORDS OF 
THE MIDDLE SEA? This is a game 
which tries too hard. It has no tactical 
richness, despite the pretty pictures in 
the rulebook. The role-playing is trivial 
and gets in the way. Like Emperor 
Norton, this game thinks it is a little bit 
of everything. . .and ends up being a little 
bit crazy. 

But don't throw this game away! 
Just ignore the unfortunate parts of it 
and play the decent parts of it. After 
all, even Emperor Norton was enter- 
taining in his way- and so is LORDS OF 
THE MIDDLE SEA. 

LORDS OF THE MIDDLE SEA is 
available from The CHAOSium, P.O. 
Box 6302, Albany CA 94706 for S9.95. 




»• 






21 



MIND WAR 



a review 

by 

Michael Striley 



MIND WAR is a game of mental 
battle between para-psionic warriors in 
a hypothetical future Earth. In MIND 
WAR, damaging waves of solar radiation 
have resulted in a high incidence of signi- 
ficant genetic changes. This includes 
the introduction of varying degrees of 
para-psionic ability in roughly ten percent 
of the population. In the game, charac- 
ters with para-psionic abilities battle in 
a universe where time and space, as we 
think of them, are meaningless. Each 
combatant envisions an identical field of 
adjoining circles represented by the map 
as a common reference for mind to mind 
interactions between themselves (from 
the rules}. Battles, according to the three 
page rationale, are rarely lethal. Instead, 
they are aimed at merely forcing the 
opponent from the mental grid. It is 
the purpose of this article to describe 
this game as objectively as possible, to 
point out some of its strengths and 
weaknesses, and to suggest some modifi- 
cations which, in my opinion, make this 
otherwise mediocre game challenging and 
enjoyable. 

Game components include an aesthe- 
tically appealing 10"x17" two-color, 
heavy paper map (mental grid), charts, 
tables, forty die-cut counters, an illustra- 
ted, twelve-page booklet of rationale, 
basic & optional rules, and scenarios. 

In most of the included scenarios, each 
player controls one para-psionic comba- 
tant of para-psi class one, two, or three. 
These c\asses are defined b\ their de- 
ferent ranges of para-psionic abilities, 
and are expressed in terms of para-psionic 
points available per turn (anywhere 
between five and twenty-two). These 



points are used interchangably to move 
and create mental beams and shields. 
Play continues (in all scenarios) until only 
one player remains in the mental grid. 

Each game turn is composed of four 
phases. These are, in order, the plot 
phase, the movement phase, the reserve 
allocation phase, and the combat resolu- 
tion phase. During the plot phase, both 
players simultaneously plot the expendi- 
tures of their para-psi points for that 
turn. These points can be allocated to 
the movement of the character between 
circles and to the creation of mental 
beams and shields of varying intensities. 
Also, a limited number of points (0-2) 
can be held in reserve, to be allocated 
to plotted beams and shields after the 
simultaneous movement phase. Combat, 
which occurs when a beam is plotted 
to hit a circle in which their is an oppo- 
sing combatant, is resolved by cross 
indexing net beam intensity (determined 
by the intensity of the beam targeted for 
that circle minus the intensity of the 
shield guarding that direction), with a 
die roll on the CRT. The numerical 
result is the number of class levels lost by 
the defender. For example, a level three 
psionic who is forced to reduce his class 
by two levels would change from a para- 
psi point allowance per turn of between 
seventeen and twenty -two (class three 
range) to somewhere within the level one 
range of five to ten points per turn. 

This combat system leads to massive 
changes \n re\at'we strength trom turn 
to turn. In fact, I've found the first 
player to score a hit on his opponent 
(no easy task) usually wins the game. 
The opponent will have lost so many 



para-psi points due to his class change 
that he can no longer compete effec- 
tively. Unfortunately, scoring a hit is 
not as dependent on strategy and tactics, 
as it is on the luck-of-the-die and simply 
out-guessing one's opponent, as players 
leap-frog back and forth, firing more or 
less randomly. The result of all this is a 
game that is often frustrating, and that 
awards wins and losses by criteria basi- 
cally unrelated to relative gaming skill. 

To remedy these problems, I would 
suggest the following minor modifica- 
tions: First, the results on the CRT be 
in terms of lost para-psi points per turn 
instead of para-psi levels. Although this 
would increase playing time, it would 
make shifts in relative power less massive, 
thus giving a player who sustains an early 
loss a chance to win. Second, scenarios 
should give each player several characters 
instead of one. This would allow players 
to carry out strategies such as encircle- 
ment, isolation of opponents and the 
creation of fields of fire. I do not mean 
to imply MIND WAR, in its market 
form, has no positive aspects. It does. 
MIND WAR is simple to learn, fast mo- 
ving, and can generally be played in less 
than an hour, much like Metagaming's 
MicroGames. But, in my opinion, and in 
the opinions of those with whom I've 
played the game, unless modifications 
(such as those that I've suggested) are 
introduced, the game's weaknesses out- 
weigh it's strengths. 

NUND \NkR as part of the Green Pla- 
net Trilogy of Games, and can be joined 
with them. It is available from Fact and 
Fantasy Games, P.O. Box 1472, Maryland 
Heights, MO 64043, for S3.50. 



22 



THE REALM 
OF YOLMI 

A REVIEW 

by 

Dana Holm 



Outside of the few nice touches that 
any new game will have, my impression 
is that this game is a deliberate spoof 
on DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. A few 
changes, easily seen through, and one is 
right back to D&D. Oh, sure, it uses 
8-sided dice to generate characters in- 
stead of 6-sided ones. And Rupniks, 
Chromniks, and Galiks for gold, silver, 
and copper (although it says in paren- 
theses that those are the equivalents). 
Then there are the three basic classes 
of adventurers - called Soldier, Fly- 
Catcher, and Scientist - get 8-sided, 
6-sided, and 4-sided hit dice respectively. 
The negative armor class system is used, 
with the lower numbers being better. 
The character gains experience points 
by killing monsters and bringing home 
treasure. All for the purpose of changing 
levels. 

Player characteristics are the basic 
six used by D&D, with intelligence 
called Wit and charisma called Personal- 
ity. There are additions to hit probability 
with increasing strength. They are given 
in percentages instead of in terms of 
20-sided dice, although the chances are 
always increased in five percent incre- 
ments. Damage adds, encumberances, 
and door opening chances are listed in 
neat rows with a percent roll for excep- 
tional ability when the maximum 
strength is rolled. Like D&D, even to the 
numbers in parentheses for opening of 
"phase-locked" doors. Constitution 

influences add to hit dice as personality 
influences hireling's morale. 

Each class has an elite group. Soldiers 
can be Cyborgs, like Steve Austin. Scien- 
tists have their Robot-makers, whose 
robots have specs somewhat like the 
various Golems of D&D. Fly-Catchers 



have Psychics, with psychic powers 
very much like spells. 

The setting gives a background against 
which actions take place, something 
which D&D doesn't do, though other 
role-playing games do. A cloud of space 
gas descended on Earth killing 95 percent 
of all humans. Animals that survived are 
changed into "fierce and mutated beings 
that traveled in destructive packs". A 
newscaster becomes immortal through 
the use of drugs and becomes the Yolmi, 
after whom the game is named. 

The Yolmi leads a religious group of 
other undead things. Flies make up one 
large group of the surviving animals 
and were so much of a threat that hu- 
mans have the Fly-Catchers to deal with 
them. Other "monsters" are the auto- 
mations, which of course were not 
affected by the gas cloud, and are now 
out of control; regular mutated animals 
of all shapes and sizes; and other men 
not under player control. Agents (men 
who wear overcoats and low hats, forever 
followed by fog, who speak in hushed 
tones and endeavor to sell secrets), ban- 
dits, panhandlers, Mafioso, gamblers, and 
politicians are some of the men one could 
meet. These are only the land monsters. 
There are also those for sea and air adven- 
tures. 

Supplies are those things that one 
would find laying around after the death 
of mankind, plus those simple things 
that would re-evolve. Firearms still 
exist- rifles, pistols, and Saturday Night 
Specials. Other weapons include: slings, 
chains, nun-chuks, and boom-a-rangs 
(called snapir). There are ropes, 15 foot 
poles, helmets, piano wire, sacks, torches, 
and 10' x 10' flypaper. For armor, 
there are: padded suits, bulletproof 



vests, and mecho-suits. 

Then there are the exotic devices 
found in the treasure hoards of the mon- 
sters. Submachineguns, hand grenades, 
flame throwers, micro-lasers, and phasers 
for the offense. Padded suits minus 
three, which is three armor classes better 
than regular padded suits; mecho-suits 
minus five; force shields; and implosion 
cubes are there to be used on defense. 
Miscellaneous technological devices like: 
visicons, phase bags, anti-grav boots, 
detectors for about everything, and jet 
skis are found in some treasures. Drugs, 
plastic explosive, and even T.L.C. (time 
line convertors) are other possible finds. 
Again, these are only the treasures that 
one gets when fighting the land monsters. 
There are additional charts, all nice and 
neat, for sea and air treasures. 

A referee is needed to lay out the 
different adventures a party may go on. 
He uses hex paper for outdoors and graph 
paper for underground. There are the 
creature encounter tables, rows and 
rows of things to meet, determined by 
a die roll, in this section. In other 
words, all the things that a D&D ref 
is responsible for. 

AND, for those who become rich and 
powerful, one can go to his friendly 
neighborhood trading post. For a paltry 
two million Rupniks, the trader will 
set up a radar unit and teleporter and 
send you up to one of the orbiting 
spaceships. Abandoned by the crew 
when the gas cloud struck, the ships lie 
dormant. You can transport a party of 
only twenty and those better include 
many 15 level and above characters, 
because you have to activate the systems 
of the ship before you can go anywhere. 
At least one 15 level Psychic is needed, 
for he drives or jumps the ship from one 
spot to another outside the solar system, 
one light year per jump, twice per day. 
He must take drugs to stay fit. 

In all there are 16 pages of ship 
particulars. Weapons, shields, combat, 
outer space monsters, and alien ships 
are covered. In my view, this is the best 
section of the 114 page book. By itself 
though, it may not be worth the $8. 

THE REALM OF YOLMI is available 
from: West Coast Games, 1987 Santa 
Maria Way, Sacramento, CA 95825. 
I don't mind a good spoof, but I would 
like to know ahead of time that I am 
buying one. With this review, you out 
there will have a chance to make that 
choice. 



23 



Kick, Step, Pivot, 
Step, Walk, Walk, 

STOMP! 



a review 

by 

Phil Kosnett 



There are nights— especially at college-- 
when you've ravaged every box of cook- 
ies in sight, played hell with your body 
chemistry, and brought your brain down 
to five percent of operation's capacity. 
Nights like that, MicroGames seem too 
intellectually exhuasting to play. Chao- 
sium has just produced the game to play 
on nights when counting the dots on a 
die gives you a headache. 

STOMP simulates the battle between 
a vapid giant named Thunderpumper 
and eighteen melon-munching elves who 
have invaded the garden of Thunder- 
pumper's employer. Thunderpumper 
stumbles about stomping elves and 
bashing at them with his club, while 
the elves, in classic Lilliputian style, 
try to pin his sandals with spears and 
bring him to ground with lassoes. If the 
elves bring him down before 15 of them 
are pulped, he crashes into the garden 
wall, creating a gap for escape. . .the 
little guys win. The map is 14X16 
hexes, with varied terrain. The giant 
player has two double-sized counters 
to represent Thunderpumper's feet, and a 
club counter. The elf player has elves of 
varying movement ability and two 
lassoes. 

The game is quite simple. If part of 
Thunderpumper's foot ends its movement 
on an elf, it's mashed. The club is swung 
in a straight line through several hexes, 
knocking a target elf an equal number 
of hexes. If it hits a tree or the wall, 
no more elf; otherwise it's stunned. 
Thunderpumper's feet move indepen- 
dently, but in certain configurations 
(like walking pigeontoed), he trips and 
goes down. Thunderpumper cannot 
swing his club through his own body. 



After a few minutes, it becomes easy to 
visualize the giant towering over the 
map and you can understand the intent 
of the giant configuration rules. 

Elves are fast enough to stay out of 
the way, but it's a small garden, there's 
no time limit, and they can't hide forever. 
So eventually, they must fight. Elves 
charge out of the woods or other hiding 
places to attack Thunderpumper's san- 
dals. This is accomplished by a mystical 
diceless combat results system. "Oppo- 
nents face one another. Each player 




holds out his left palm and twice pounds 
his right fist into his palm. On the 
third pound, players put into their palms 
X number of fingers. Matched fingers 
indicate that the elf succeeds. . ." The 
more elves attack a sandal, the more 
chance the sandal will be stuck. The 
giant can pivot on a stuck heel or toe 
portion, and can free one portion of 
foot per turn, but a concerted elf attack 
can quickly immobilize Thunderpumper. 
A little rope action and he's down (assu- 
ming good die rolls--uh, finger matches). 
But while all the elves are out in the 
open playing with his feet, Thunderpum- 
per is bashing away with his club. It's a 
short game, 40 minutes at most. 

I rather like this game. It's imagina- 
tive; it's fast and fun and balanced. The 
rules are a bit sketchy for a recruit 
customer to get everything right without 
being confused, but gamers with any 
experience at all will have no problem. 
The components make OGRE look like 
WAR IN EUROPE--twenty-four one-color 
regular-size thinboard counters, eight 
double-size foot counters (showing vari- 
ous permutations of free and stuck foot- 
portions), and one 8'/2"X13" one-sided, 
four-color sheet with front and back 
covers, mapsheet, and maybe 3000 
words of rules, all in a small ziplock 
bag, all for the sum of S2.95. It's 
not a great leap forward in game design, 
but designer Tadashi Ehara and rules 
writer/illustrator Lynn "Olympica" Willis 
have produced a diversion that should be 
good for breaking in your non-gamer 
buddies and roomies-especially if you 
catch them on the right night. Published 
by Chaosium, Box 6302, Albany, CA 
94706. 



24 



JUGGERNAUT ONE 



by 

Robert Chester 



"Ah. . . Juggernaut, I still have a red 
light on the transfer panel." 

"Roger, control." 

"Juggernaut, its on the prime circuit 
pilot." 

"Roger, control." 

"Goddammit, Wayne. Make the switch 
-over! Wayne?. . . Are you listening 
Wayne?. . . Wayne? Wayne, we've been 
over it, and over it, and over it. You have 
to make the switch-over. Juggernaut is 
ready, Wayne, you have to let him free." 

"It's not a him, George, it's a . . ." 

"It's a cybernetic system, Wayne; it's 
not just a goddam machine." 

"Wayne?. . . Wayne? Let's put it this 
way, Wayne, if you don't make the 
switch-over, you're. . . Well, hell, you'll 
never work for this government again!" 

"Wayne?" 

"Juggernaut One, Juggernaut One, this 
is Mission Control Central. We have a 
green board. Repeat, all boards showing 
green. Juggernaut One is operational." 

"Sorry, George." 

"I know, Wayne." 

The tremendous bulk of Juggernaut 
One slid forward like an apartment 
building breaking loose. Deep in her 
bowels, below the feet of armor plate, 
below the weapons systems, past ammu- 
nition storage bins, the fuel tanks, and 
maintenance servos; deeper yet past the 
electronics, and the meager (and not 
altogether necessary) crew compartment, 
Juggernaut's fusion reactor blasted horse- 
power away from tortured atoms. Hum- 
ble water sizzled into steam and roared 
over polished turbines. Massive convert- 
ers screamed as if in pain, torqued axle 
shafts, and geared forward the tracks. 

All was placid on the surface. White 
paint glinted under the garage lights. 
A radar array slowly orbited the central 
turret. 

A seemingly insignificant creature 
stood next to it, waving the vehicle 
forward with fluorescent rods. The 
system towered ten times the creature's 



height, and cubed itself off in length 
and width. 

Juggernaut One left behind a cosmo- 
line stain on the tarmac, and in a spray 
of thin oil, whirred forward. 

Juggernaut One, the single most 
destructive unit ever created, was free 
and unfettered by puny human control. 
Instincts of loyalty and gratitude, honor 
and courage, stayed its offensiveness; 
balanced its aggression. Since birth 
seconds ago, it loved its masters; its 
creators. Since birth, it hated its enemies 
-- it rolled forward! 

Controlled power! Juggernaut was 
raw, awesome - a machine designed for 
destruction. Its missiles could devastate 
cities; its guns could chew through any 
vehicle. Its defenses could buzz bullets 
like a nest of angry hornets, or choke 
attackers with a deadly fog. Together 
in one unit - a system, it was the key 
to a world's conquest, and a destroyer 
of continents! 

Juggernaut One rolled forward aggres- 
sively. The garage doors creaked and 
rattled as the technicians pushed them 
open. Juggernaut, eager, willing, like a 
child unaware of its muscles, barged 
ahead. The edge of the bay door caught 
in Juggernaut's side skirting. The white 
surface barely scratched, but the garage 
door buckled and tore. It was ripped, 
thrown and clattered to junk. 

Juggernaut accelerated. 

"God help us," whispered Wayne. 

Mrs. Magillicuty noticed the beetle 
as it scurried out from under the side- 
board. She stepped forward and placed 
the flat of her penny loafer on top of it. 
It crunched satisfyingly as she stepped 
down. 

Mrs. Magillicuty went to the cupboard 
under the sink. She picked up a small 
wisk broom and swept the remains under 
the stove. 

"Nasty little white bugger," she mut- 
tered. 



ENTERTAINMENT 

by Warren E. McGill 

The other day I wandered by 
A place where Ogres go to die, 
A store not open there before, 
But one that seemed to thrive on war. 

I had meant to hurry by 

But something there had caught my eye, 

An ugly monster now I saw 

Looked fust like my mother-in-law. 

So through the door my footsteps led. 
With a heart chocked full oficey dread: 
But curious why they advertised 
A beast who should be atomized. 

A voice boomed out "Just look around 
But please try not to make a sound, 
I've run his Wizard out of spells 
And want to hear his anguished yells". 



What kind of business could this be 
When all there was that I could see 
Were envelopes on every wall. 
And games stacked high as I am tall? 

And in a comer crouched six fools. 
Four of whom could pass as ghouls; 
While the one they must have robbed, 
with bowed head just sat and sobbed. 

"Let's take a break" the sixth one said, 
"While I try to make some bread"; 
Then turning to me with a lear. 
Said "I think we have a live one here ". 

Too late to dash across the floor, 
They 'd formed a blockade at the door; 
So in a voice that was almost a babble, 
I asked them for a game of Scrabble. 

"Come on now friend" the owner sneered, 
(Adding to my other fears); 
"That game is not for you and I, 
I've something better for you to buy ". 



25 



"You look to me like World War II, 
And Panzerblitz should be for you; 
But should you be a SciFi fan 
I've games enough to fill your van ". 

Game by game, he showed them all. 
From ancient Rome to Tolbruk's fall; 
Then from Mid-World to outer space, 
And those who fight with sword and mace. 

Un til with senses overcome, 
I had spent a goodly sum; 
Buying all he said to try. 
From Metagaming to SPI. 

And now at last, I'm homeward bound 

Having left them with a frown. 

They said "Let's play" and I said "Naw", 

"I'm going home to play with my mother-in-law' 




26 



■fitters to the Editor 



The ICE WAR article in TSG 20 
contained a typo. Rule 21.3 states: 
US initial forces subs may be committed 
to the map during the US Sub phase of 
any turn after release of reinforcements. 
This should read: US initial forces subs 
may be committed to the map during the 
Sub phase of any turn. US reinforcement 
subs may be committed during the Sub 
phase of any turn after the release of 
reinforcements (see 17.3). 

Also, the rules for OLYMPICA (which 
I edited) contain an error, due to minor 
differences between the designer's map- 
board and the production version. Rules 
4.2, 4.3, 5.2, and 13.2 list the hexes for 
the fixed-placement tunnels as 1717, 
1818, 1010, and 1009. These should 
be 1717, 1818, ^0^0,and 1011. 

Keith Gross 
Austin, TX 



I discovered the standard snipe at 
SWORDS AND SORCERY in an article 
about a game based on an extremely 
mature and well thought out science 
fiction television show (STAR TREK); 
the program may not qualify as childish, 
but as serious science fiction it does leave 
something to be desired. It's not that 
I'm paranoid, it's just that I am aware of 
THE SPACE GAMER'S policy to get me 
and the company I work for. 

In a more serious vein, the contention 
that STARSHIPS AND SPACEMEN 
allows for sexual equality by compensa- 
ting female characters with increased 
"Charisma" and "Psionic Power" in 



return for lesser "Strength" is ludi- 
crous. In the first place, why do women 
have greater Charisma? Just because the 
current society in which we live places 
much more value on female physical 
beauty than on male physical beauty 
does not mean that females are intrinsi- 
cally more charismatic than males. And 
the differentiation of male and female 
characters on the basis of any unproven 
physical or mental difference points 
out a sad lacking in design perspective 
rampant in this hobby. Any student 
of role-playing games can prove women 
are more beautiful (or handsome) than 
men, but less strong. Who is stereotyping 
whom? I suppose I will have to endure 
several articles detailing the ability of 
women to "seduce" men before this 
silliness is exorcised from the hobby, 
but at least the designers could be sexist 
along conventional and currently accept- 
able lines (witches versus wizards). 
And besides, the lead characters in 
STAR TREK who were most charismatic 
were male. 

Your "Inside Humor" column was 
probably funny, but since I am not 
allowed to laugh by company policy at 
any article which might be construed as 
pointed at the firm, I am not sure. It 
might interest you to know that the 
copy you have of CREATURE in your 
files has very little resemblance to the 
product which will be available shortly. 
To my mind, it is certainly the best 
game of the four, and doesn't even look 
like a giant tank. 

Chacun a son gout. 

Eric Goldberg 
SPI, New York 




Dialogues between artist and critic 
tend to be unutterably boring and I do 
not intend to initiate a multi-chapter 
discussion via this letter. However, I 
think it wise to make some reply to 
Eric Goldberg's letter in TSG no.20, 
in which he takes exception with my 
review of his SWORDS AND SORCERY 
design. Whatever specific defense he 
wishes to make for S&S is his affair, of 
course, and it would be futile to recapi- 
tulate old points. I would, however, like 
to make a couple of brief comments 
before proceeding to the primary issue 
raised by Eric's letter. 

First, despite the fact that Eric says 
that he doesn't "know one way or ano- 
ther" whether the humorous approach 
was proper in the context of S&S, he 
cannot say that he did not have ample 
opportunity before the game entered 
print to "get sure". At least one play- 
tester was not amused by the game and 
said so. As a consequence, Eric said that 
he and Greg Costikyan were going over 
the game one more time with "an ex- 
tremely critical eye, to make sure our 
intentions cannot be misread" (see 
S&T no.68/WORKS IN PROGRESS). 
So what happened? I would also point 
out that SPI specifically condemns 
"high school humor and obvious smart- 
guy remarks" in its guidelines on manu- 
script style (see WARGAME DESIGN, 
page 186, case 1.66-1 assume that what 
applies to game notes also applies even 
more so to the rules headings). 

Regarding Eric's characterization of 
my comment concerning SPI staffers as 
"snide", I can only say that I did not 
intend it to be read that way (though 
I now realize that my assessment did 
come off as a sarcastic cheap shot). 
My apologies to the staff for that. I still 
maintain that SPI does not do nearly 
as good a job on SF-F topics as they do 
on historical topics, but I'll leave any 
speculation as to why that might be to 
someone else. 

Eric's main point, though, is that I 
analyze the game on the basis of what I 
think it should have been and not on the 
basis of what it is trying to be. By 
Eric's standards, this is an incorrect 
approach which "misses the entire point 
of the game". Not only is it unfair to 
judge a game by such a standard, but, 
says Eric, the standard is probably not 
capable of achievement. Hmmmm. 

In answer to this thesis, let me first 
say that I've never even heard of a critic 
(of any variety) who would allow himself 



27 



to be bound by the stictures which Eric 
sets down. The reviewer who says that 
a play bores him because the author and 
director have tried to be "terminally 
cute" is committing the same crime 
of which I am accused. The literary 
critic who says that a new novel is a 
"turgid bit of nonsense, leaping from 
one poorly developed theme to the next" 
is saying nothing very different from 
what I said about S&S. Regardless of 
what Eric thinks makes good criticism, 
critics always have and always will look 
at what a play or a novel or a simulation 
might have been if the concept of the 
work had been given a little more th- 
ought. To say that the critic should limit 
himself to a dissection of mechanics in 
relation to goals is absurd. The question 
of whether the goals set for a work are 
proper or achievable is an essential 
question in all criticism. In the case of 
S&S, my central thesis was that the 
sort of experience which I as a consumer 
desired and expected when I ordered 
the item was lacking in the event pre- 
cisely because the conceptualization of 
S&S was not sufficient for the amount 



of time, money and print expended. 
This approach is perfectly legitimate. 

As for missing the entire point of the 
game, I regret to say that I got the point 
driven home quite forcefully. The 
problem from my angle was not a failure 
of understanding, but a fundamental 
disagreement as to whether or not the 
point of the game was worthy of being 
made. . .at least in that manner and at 
that price. I do not believe that the 
Feedback on a game concept constitutes 
or should constitute an inviolable straight 
jacket. Nor do I believe that such 
Feedback necessarily defines the para- 
meters within which a game should exist. 
Such definition is the responsibility of 
the designer. He may want to stick as 
closely as possible to what got a favorable 
Feedback response initially, but from 
what I have seen of the way SPI operates, 
there is a not inconsiderable amount 
of latitude involved in a designer's choice 
of how to do his job. As for Eric's citing 
the text of the Feedback question on 
S&S as proof that the game achieved 
its intent, I should like to point out 
that he is simply begging the question of 




whether or not he properly narrowed 
down his subject matter and got a grasp 
on his data. Simply because the initial 
concept of a game sets certain parameters 
does not mean that you have to design 
out to the capacity of your subject. 

Finally, Eric contends that my con- 
cept of what constitutes a good fantasy 
game is, if not unproducable, at least 
unproduced. Simple rot! There are any 
number of fantasy offerings on the mar- 
ket which, whatever their other faults, 
show the very integrity of concept and 
grasp of material which I indicted S&S 
for lacking. SPI's own WAR OF THE 
RING is a nicely conceived and fully 
developed item of the sort I expressed 
a desire to see. DIXIE may never rank 
as an all-time favorite game of anybody, 
but it was an integrated effort. Meta- 
gaming's TFT Micro's, are well thought- 
out systems, capable of much reinterpre- 
tation, but also capable of use as self- 
enclosed, integrated games. But, perhaps 
the best examples of what can be done 
with the fantasy genre are WHITE BEAR 
AND RED MOON and NOMAD GODS, 
both of which embody high standards 
both of literature and of gaming. The 
question was and remains, is a small 
outfit like CHAOSIUM can do it, why 
couldn't SPI? 

David James Ritchie 
Grove City, PA 



I was pleased that my PS IONICS IN 
TRAVELLER article appeared in TSG 
no. 20; this feeling of pleasure came to 
an abrupt end, though, when I noticed 
some mistakes I had made in the article. 
The mistakes, along with the proper 
corrections, are as follows: 

1. PSIONIC INSTITUTE ERROR- 
Psionic Institute branches can only exist 
on planets that have a population level 
of 9+ or a technology level of 12+, not 
18+ as I previously stated. At the time 
I wrote it I thought you rolled two 
six-sided dice to determine a planet's 
technology level; in reality, you are 
supposed to roll one. 

2. MIND-CONTROL ERROR- In 
the second column of page eleven under 
the mind-control section close to the 
bottom of the page exists the statement 
"the ability of mind-control lasts as long 
as the telepath is rendered unconscious 
for twelve hours." Ignore this statement 
entirely; pretend it was never written; 
cross it out with ink or erase it. How it 
got there I'm not certain, maybe it was 
gremlins. 






28 



3. PSIONIC DEVICES ERROR- The 
three categories that psionic devices fall 
into are (a) those that allow a character 
the use of a certain psionic ability but no 
psionic strength points to make use of 
the ability, (b) those that allow a charac- 
ter a certain number of psionic strength 
points but no psionic abilities to expend 
the psionic strength points on, and (c) 
those devices that allow a character the 
usage of a certain psionic ability plus the 
necessary psionic strength points to 
perform the psionic ability with. In the 
original article I left out the "b" type 
devices. 

Hopefully, this letter will straighten 
out any confusion that may arise from 
the PSIONICS IN TRAVELLER article. 
Remember, for telekinetic purposes, one 
kilogram equals two and two tenths 
pounds, and one megagram equals two 
thousand two hundred pounds. 

Kenneth W. Burke 
West Hartford, CT 



I have enjoyed your magazine princi- 
pally because of the enthusiasm, both for 
science fiction and for gaming, that seems 
to characterize most of the writers. With 
rare exception those writing about games 
that I know seem to comprehend the 
purpose of those games and are able 
to comment intelligently upon them 
(a rare exception to this was "TRAVEL- 
LER: Addendum Equipment & Wea- 
pons" by Barger in No. 18. Mr. Barger 
seems to underestimate the importance 
of technical levels as the equipment that 
he describes would be far past the capa- 
bilities of planets in the designer created 
universe although they well might fit in 
another). As to the future of the maga- 
zine: the simple fact is that I am paying 
a high price (about 5 cents/page of text) 
for the magazine and what I want is a 
continuation of the articles about games 
and reviews and discussions of the games 
available. Fiction, especially bad fiction, 
I can find at a cheaper price elsewhere; 
articles as valuable as "Referee, Declare 




Thyself!" (No. 18) or "Psionics in 
TRAVELLER" (No. 20) are rare even 
in gaming magazines. Most other maga- 
zines I buy at a newsstand after a quick 
run-through to see whether there is 
something of value in it for me or not; 
change the format of TSG radically or 
start that miserable fiction again and I 
am likely to demote it to that level. 
The hardest part of the survey was rating 
the game companies. Any company that 
produces multiple games produces some 
duds. How is one to combine the ratings 
for effort, production values, and final 
product into one, almost meaningless 
score? There are probably some manu- 
factures that will not get my money 
unless I have played the game elsewhere 
and liked it and some, a very few, that 
will get my money based on past perfor- 
mance. Most purchasing that I do will be 
based not on the maker but on a close 
look at the game and, if possible, some 
good reviews (and by this I do not mean 
favorable reviews, but reviews that take 
a close look at the game and explain its 
assumptions, problems, play mechanics, 
and good points and attempt to evaluate 

its interest to the average gamer). 

As a minor quibble about the survey 

I would like to object to SWORDS & 

SORCERY being cast as a role playing 

game. I have it; I play it; I like it; and it 

is a board game pure and simple. I also 

feel that GDW's ILIAD should have been 

included as a fantasy board game. The 

assumption of the game is that the gods 

did have an effect on the events rather 

than being a 'simluation' of the bronze 

age commerce raiding that was the 

historical reality. 

Yale F. Edeiken 
Chicago, IL 



Mike Crane's "Hazards of Wargaming" 
is an intriguing, very confused article. 
Even given that Mike was attempting 
to write a humorous piece, the illogic 
of his statements is no less serious than in 
a critical tract. He asks if "anyone ever 
actually understands" big, complex games 
or "even understands the rules?" Sure 
they do. Some of the big games (e.g. 
TERRIBLE SWIFT SWORD, WAR IN 
EUROPE, and-what I suspect is the 
subject of his play session, SWORDS & 
SORCERY) have been discussed at length 
in the wargame press by intelligent, 
incisive customers who readily digested 
and mastered the games. Big games 



are not for everyone; they require time, 
energy, work, and the desire to learn 
something from the game. Playing a 
battalion/company level game of the 
Battle of the Bulge is exhausting, but 
you can't gain an understanding of how 
the nature of the tactical combat deter- 
mined the strategic outcome by playing 
a Folio game on the Bulge. Mike com- 
plains that his game has no "standard" 
scenario. Why should a fantasy game 
have a "standard" scenario? What's 
wrong with having a multiplicity of 
scenarios to choose from, assuming the 
developer has had enough time to develop 
all the scenarios properly (an admittedly 
big assumption)? Mike and his buddies 
seemed to have a lot of trouble coping 
with the rules; they kept screwing up and 
having to start over again. They spent 
hours arguing over which scenario to 
play, which optional rules to play, how 
to interpret rules. One of the guys 
cheated, which indicates an impressive 
lack of integrity-why go through this 
whole process if you're going to prosti- 
tute the results? What have you learned? 
Mike bitches that the rules use precise, 
technical language. I assure Mike that 
writing precise technical language, trying 
to cover the loopholes (and never quite 
succeeding) is a hell of a lot less fun 
than reading it. But we do it for guys 
like Mike and his buddies-who are 
incapable of settling their disputes 
through common sense and concilliation. 
Can you imagine how Mike's nightmarish 
session would have gone with sloppy, 
loose rules of the famous, classic "Use 
any reasonable supply rule" sort? Sure, 
it takes time to get used to reading long, 
complex rules; you're learning a new 
language. Kids don't start out on CRIME 
& PUNISHMENT; Mike obviously isn't 
experienced enough with wargames to be 
playing complex ones. I am not calling 
Mike dumb; I am not saying rules-writing 
is a perfectly developed art. Both need 
more work. 

To sum up, to judge that big games 
are a waste of time because Mike and 
his buddies had a bad experience-com- 
pounded by their inexperience, inability 
to make decisions, sloppy rules reading, 
and cheating-would be foolish. What can 
we all learn from this? That playing a big 
game takes effort in order to have fun 
and learn from it, and that not everyone 
is capable of devoting this effort to 
playing big games. As for me-l don't 
have the time these days, which is why I 
play Micros. And, like Mike, I drink. 

Phil Kosnett 
Cambridge, MA 







I have brought Allen Varney's POND 
WAR (TSG no. 19) to the attention of a 
friend of mine. He assures me that he 
will give Mr. Varney's idea careful consi- 
deration. He has already sent two repre- 
sentatives of his, er, company to talk to 
Mr. Varney about POND WAR (to 
express their interest in his idea, they are 
bringing him a nice, white, er, jacket for 
him to try on). They should arrive 
shortly. In the meantime, keep him as 
quiet as possible; don't let him become 
excited (tie him up if you have to). 

Sympathetically, 

Leland Erickson 
Menlo Park, Calif. 



I'm dismayed at your announcement 
of a possible venture into historical 
games. There are so many companies 
turning out so many good games that 
your joining in doesn't hold much pro- 
mise of impact or profit. Metagaming is 
the only company that concentrates on 
science fiction and fantasy boardgames. 
Others dabble in the area, but only GDW 
consistently produces solid games. Seri- 
ous sci-fi gamers can only lament any 
sidetracking of your efforts into histori- 
cal games. Already STELLER CON- 
OUEST and OGRE set the standard of 
excellence in concept and rules, but not 
yet in components, for science fiction 
simulations. When and if I see a regular 
game by Metagaming, I can only think of 
the resources that could have been put 
to better use in upgrading the graphics, 
playtesting and other facets of your 
bread and butter: sci-fi and fantasy 
games. Besides, I doubt you can match 
GDW, AH, or SPI for quite a while in 



30 



their own lairs, or find an interesting 
historical topic they haven't covered. 

I'm still surprised gamers haven't 
realized why games, like IMPERIUM, 
TRAVELLER, STELLAR CONQUEST, 
and OGRE are so superior to STAR- 
FORCE, STARSHIP TROOPERS, WAR 
OF THE RING, and OUTREACH. The 
first are labors of love polished into gems. 
The designers have let the rest of the 
playing public onto the same game they 
have been playing for enjoyment for 
years. The latter group consists of the 
mass produced bash. They're either 
another effort to beat the publication 
deadline, to maximize the dollars; or they 
take advantage of a big name novel, 
which doesn't guarantee a good game. 
The difference is between games with 
sparkling personality, humor, and a 
defined theme and those flavorless games 
where players methodically push their 
pieces around or at best STALINGRAD 
with lasers and spaceships instead of rifles 
and Panthers. Metagaming has put out 
a high proportion of games in the first 
category; I am just afraid that devoting 
your resources to historical games will 
jeopardize that. 

Roberto Camino 
Huntington Park, CA 



This letter is in reply to that of Ben V. 
Kloepper, which appeared in TSG no.19. 

There seems to be a misunderstan- 
ding as to the potential benefits of Orien- 
tal weaponry in MELEE. These benefits 
are only meant to accrue to a character 
specifically trained in the weapon, and 
are meant to be compared against a 
"standard" weapon from the MELEE 
list. A Katana is not meant to be a magic 
sword, as Ben suggests. (By the way, my 
first name is Ronald, misspelling in future 
will result in the evildoer having to com- 
mit ritual suicide with his Wakizashi) 
My statement was that "Samurai tended 
to strike at the vital areas with precision," 
and that was meant to apply to a Samurai 
Warrior of given DX as compared to any 
other character of the same DX who is 
hacking away with a heavy broadsword 
and hoping for the best. 

Giving a beginning Samurai figure a 
greater amount of starting attributes just 
makes the Samurai a basically tougher foe 
who is in no way different than any other 
MELEE figure. The Samurai would then 
be equally adept with a standard broad- 
sword as with his Katana. This is not 
supposed to be the case! A given Samurai 
Warrior may be no greater DX than a foe, 
but if armed with a Katana against the 
heavier broadsword - wielded with 




1^ 

DOCKDAH 



muscle rather than skill - the Samurai 
will strike more often and more ac- 
curately. It is a combination of Samurai 
training and a superior sword. A figure 
untrained in Katana just has a broad- 
sword for game purposes; needing the 
same ST, doing the same damage, and 
not gaining the +1 to DX. 

The same rationale applies to the use 
of other Oriental weaponry. A Sai in 
untrained hands is just a big, blunt knife. 
Rotating a Tonfa allows it to be a par- 
rying weapon, so it absorbs damage just 
fashion analogous to a MELEE main- 
gauche. If you don't know how to use 
it properly, all you've got is a club. 
A figure expressly stated as being trained 
in Tonfa does not necessarily have 
greater DX which would then allow more 
effective chances "to hit" with an ordi- 
nary club. 

By deleting the extra benefits of 

oriental weaponry, Ben removes the 

point of using them. Why should a figure 

use a Bokken in practice combat when a 

club gives the same damage using less ST? 

On the other hand, declaring that all you 

need is higher DX to gain the benefits 

only means that you have added superior 

new weapons to the MELEE chart and 

destroyed the tactical choice on which 

the game is based. (If a weapon takes 

higher ST cost as it does higher damage, 

then players must choose between figures 

with high ST which do greater damage 

or figures with high DX which hit more 

often) DX becomes the key factor 

instead of one of the two equal, balanced 

criteria. 

The suggestion that deflection of 

arrows should be on 5 dice rather than 4 
is a judgment call. Again, this was meant 
to apply to the fantasy martial artist not 
any particular historical Warrior. 

The suggestion that IQ should be 
directly related to accuracy is downright 
marvelous! This should apply to all 
Warriors, and is especially useful in 
giving IQ a meaningful concept in ME- 
LEE. Hitherto, it has only been impor- 
tant in WIZARD. Perhaps that is inten- 
tional, and forcing MELEE-only figures 
to worry about IQ unbalances that game, 
but I'll leave that to Steve Jackson to 
decide. In any event, I would put forth 
my own judgment call that -1 "to hit" for 
every 2 IQ over 10 will make it too easy 
for heavily armored characters to score 
and the minimum IQ for this benefit 
should be substantially higher. Naturally, 
Wizards would not be entitled to in- 
creased weapon accuracy. 

Ronald Pehr 
Albany, NY 



5TELf.4ft 
CONQUEST 



A classic science fiction 
game. . . available again! 





The new boxed edition of STELLAR CONQUEST 
includes 480 counters, 17" x 22" full-color map, rules book, 
star cards, data sheets, and record sheets. The price is only 
$12.95 - $11.50 for THE SPACE GAMER subscribers. 

Came design by Howard Thompson; cover art by 
Kelly Freas. 



When it first appeared, GODSFIRE was hailed as the best 
political/ economic SF game ever designed- Now in a new boxed edition — 
complete with beautiful full-color cover by Rick Sternboch and 
enough components for fl players — GODSFIRE is a "must" 
for the skilled gamer. 

GODSFIRE is two games in one. The basic version is a battle game, 
with space fleets and ground forces fighting for control of 
fifteen planets. A unique movement system makes true 
three-dimensional movement easy. 

The advanced game adds diplomacy, subversion, politics — and the 
chance of Armageddon. Defore you go to war, you'll hove to gain 
support from internal political and economic interests 
(by fair treatment, negotiation, bribery, or force) — 
or face revolution. 

Components include two giant 22" by 34" strategic maps, 
1 5 System Sheets and 6 National Government Sheers; 960 unit counters; 
616 Gigabuck counters; and the rule booklet. 

Playing rime ranges from two hours to all day, depending on the 
scenario (from 2 to 1 5 players) that you choose. 

Designed by Lynn Willis; edited by Steve Jackson; cover art 
by Rick Sternbach. 

GODSFIRE sells for $1 5.95 — or S14.00 for 
The Space Gomer subscribers. 



GOD 



Figh tfo r control of a 
globular cluster — build, 
research, andexplore. 
Victory will go to the 
player who makes best use 
of the available resources 
to outbuild and outguess 
his (or her) rivals. 




Please send me copies of STELLAR CONQUEST at S12.95 each (S11.50 for THE SPACE GAMER subscribers) 

and copies of GODSFIRE at $15.95 each (S14.00 for TSG subscribers). I (am) (am not) a TSG subscriber. 

Please enter my subscription to THE SPACE GAMER for months, at S8.00 for 6 issues or $15.00 for 12 

issues. 1 understand that this subscription entitles me to the subscriber discount on games I am ordering now. 

Name Address City State Zip 

Please add 50 cents for postage and handling. 

<@etagaming are 8761 




SUPERTANK. 



The command post is well guarded. Tanks, armed 
hovercraft, missile cannon, infantry in powered armor-all 
with one mission: to defend that vital spot. And your 
job is to go in and destroy it. Alone. 

But when those defenders see you, they'., wish they 
were somewhere else. Because you're not a man. You're 
a thinking machine-the deadliest device on any battlefield. 

You're the OGRE. 

OGRE has become a classic in two short years. It has 
pleased nearly 50,000 gamers and science fiction fans. 
OGRE proved that a $2.95 game could match any for 
sheer playing fun. If you haven't experienced this gem, 
you owe yourself. Or, just maybe, you're one of the 
many who has "worn-out" his first copy and needs ano- 
ther. 

Components include: 

*24 page illustrated rules booklet 
*8" x 14" terrain map 
*1 12 unit play counters 



SPEEDING DEATH. 



In the year 2085, a tank duel lasts only seconds. An 
entire battle ends in minutes. Nuke-firing infantry men 
dodge across the battleground in powered suits, trying to 
come to grips with the enemy armor. And those armor 
units, both tanks and hovercraft, are deadly. Only a 
direct hit will take one out--a miss may stun the crew, but 
their machine will keep trying to kill you. 

G.E.V., sequel to OGRE, adds more detail to Meta- 
gaming's fast-moving simulation of armored combat in the 
next century. G.E.V. is a new game, but its wholly compa- 
tible with OGRE. Stacking and terrain rules, new unit 
types, the Mark IV Ogre, and more. . . Scenarios include 
Raid, Breakthrough, Ceasefire Collapse, and The Train. 
And within hours, you'll be creating your own. 



Experienced gamers will be most pleased with G.E.V.'s 
competitive play balance. The MicroGame format is 
excellent for raid scenarios. And, 
tournament-tested success. If you 
tactical challenge, don't miss G.E.V. 



G.E.V. is a popular, 
want a fast playing, 



\ 



Components include: 

*24 page illustrated rules booklet 
*12" x 14" three color terrain map 
*135 unit play counters 



OGRE and G.E.V. are available at your local hobby, toy, and book stores-ask for them. 
OGRE is $2.95 and G.E.V. is S3. 95 when ordered directly from Metagaming. Subscribers 
to THE SPACE GAMER pay $2.50 for OGRE and $3.50 for G.E.V. There is a 50-cent 
required postage fee for each mail order. 




(Metagaming 

Box 15346, Austin, TX 78761